Romans 12:3b, “…as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
This week my family and I are on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. What a beautiful place! I am the vacation planner of the family, and I enjoy doing tons of research beforehand to ensure that we get exactly what we want while on our trip. We knew we wanted a cabin in the mountains with a great view. I searched cabin-rental companies, scanning through pictures online, until I felt we had found the one with the absolutely best view. Now that we are here, I am convinced that we chose the right place. In fact, as I write this article, I am sitting on the back deck of the cabin, which is above the tree line, and I’m looking out on the mountains as the sun is rising. Breathtaking! The family is still asleep. I do hear a rooster, and a dog from one mountain is having a conversation with a dog on another mountain. The birds are waking up. It’s just a wonderful place to be!
You all know that I am the Mom to three boys, ages 7, 11, and 13. I am also the wife to a born adventurer. I have not yet seen the challenge he is afraid to face, the risk he is scared to take. Combine these two relationships, and we can imagine what our vacations are like. Adventures would be a better word. Of course, the Lord always joins opposite personalities together. I am NOT a risk-taker by nature. I like to know the outcome of every situation before it happens. I am not impulsive, either. I was never a Tomboy, and I never envisioned myself as a Boymom. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!!
That brings us back to our current adventure. Remember that view I HAD to have? Well, logic will tell you that you have to climb up a mountain to get that view. I didn’t quite think that part through enough. We drove up to our cabin after dark on Saturday night. The roads became more and more narrow until we were in a single lane, gravel path (with grass growing in the middle of the path.) The road snaked around this way and that way and our GPS was totally confused. As we passed a sign that read, “No rental cabins beyond this point,” I knew that couldn’t be good. Soon we came to a place where there was a rope stretched across the road with a sign on it- Private Property. We are now supposed to turn around on this tiny road, in the pitch darkness, in our bulky minivan. I forgot to mention that the road dropped off about a foot from the edge, the entire ride, straight down the mountain side! How can people actually live up here? I thought.
I was more afraid than I had been in a long time as my husband began the process of turning the car around. The hood of the van literally jutted out over the side of the mountain. I grabbed onto the handle over my window, until my knuckles were white, closed my eyes, and PRAYED! Well, obviously, we made it. I have to say, marrying a farm boy, who has driven every type of vehicle there is, since the age of 12, really has advantages. He is an expert driver. I would still be sitting on that road, crying, if I were in the driver’s seat.
This vacation is teaching me a lot about faith. If you want the truly great views in this life, you have to have the faith to drive up the mountains. I don’t want to live the average, comfortable, never-venture-out Christian life, do you? I want the Lord to use me in big ways to help and influence others for His glory. But I must have the faith to trust Him and He drives me up the mountains, often in the dark. I sometimes can’t see the WHY of road the ahead. But I know I want to live up at the top!
We often talk about faith, which is simply trusting someone or something other than yourself. It seems that faith in God is our biggest struggle throughout life. But, I wonder why that is. God has given us the faith already (Romans 12:3). We did not earn an amount of faith; it was given to us as a gift (Ephesians 2:8). It seems that we are ready to give our faith away to just about anything or anyone but God. (I’m talking to myself here!)
For example, I am sitting on this deck, on wood stilts, built into the side of this mountain. If this deck was not sturdy enough to hold me, I would fall down the mountainside, probably to my death. I have no idea who built this deck. Was it a licensed builder? I don’t know. I’ll never meet him. How old is this deck? Again, I don’t know. Is it safe? I’m not sure; but here I sit. FAITH.
Yesterday two things, back-to-back, that I had never done before. In the morning my family went on a guided horseback ride through the hills of the Smokies. I had ridden a horse a couple times in my life in a fenced-in area (city girl!) We went up and down the hills, trusting the animal beneath us not to slip and fall as we rode down rather steep trails. It became even more exciting when, 15 minutes into the ride, it began to pour down rain! I don’t mean sprinkle or light rain, I mean POUR down rain. The trails turned to mud quickly. I prayed again as my horse would slip a little here and there. I was afraid! Yet, I never jumped down and said, “That’s it! I’m walking back.” (I did entertain the thought, but did not want to embarrass my kids!) I trusted in an animal! I definitely could have been injured, but I took the risk. FAITH.
Well, we went straight from that adventure over to the activity that truly terrified me. Zip lining. I had never been zip lining, and for good reason! I am scared of heights. So, why not try it for the first time up in the mountains?! Not just one line, oh no, that would be too easy! We bought the ultimate package—6 different lines, some as long as 3,500 feet. I was literally shaking. Yet again, I decided to trust. I trusted the people that erected the wires. I trusted the (very young) guys who led us through each line. I trusted the hook that held me onto the wire, as I whizzed above the trees at 60 mph. FAITH.
Isn’t it funny that we can trust soooooo many things, animals, wires, people we don’t know, but our sinful human natures find it so difficult to trust our Creator, the One Who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves! It is sad, but true. Trusting God will always be a battle. Our faith is the ONLY thing we desires, the only thing we can give Him that pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6). This is the very reason that Satan wages war on our faith in God.
Friends, we must trust in the Lord. Be confident in His record. Think back to ALL the times He had come through for us before. He ALWAYS comes through. He has NEVER failed us! Also, think of the goal ahead. We want that view from the top of the mountain! We don’t want to settle for the boring, non-influential, non-life-changing life at the bottom of the hill. Let’s keep trusting the One in the driver’s seat. It’s truly a fabulous ride.