Think About This: “Traveling in the way of faith and climbing the ascent to Christ may be difficult, but it is not worrisome. The weather may be adverse, but it is never fatal. We may slip and stumble and fall, but the rope will hold us.” — Eugene Peterson
When Faith Went Dry
Posted on May 10, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath.”– Lamentations 3:1 (CSB)
On the morning of May 9th, 2003, I found myself alone in a wooded area. I ain’t got no job, I ain’t got nowhere to live, I ain’t got no family who wants me, I ain’t got no friends who’ll save me, and as my list of “I ain’t got no’s” could grow like dandelions in a field, the things that I did have weren’t meant to do me any good. I was, however, able to scrape up enough money to buy enough stuff to keep me from being “dope sick.” As I was getting things prepared, I heard someone say, “This has to stop.” Didn’t think much about it at first, but when I heard it a second time, well let’s just leave it at… I got spooked. )For anyone who knows the legend about the Jersey Devil knows that dude could be anywhere in our woods… and I really didn’t need to see him that morning.)
I’ll always remember that day, not so much for being scared outta my wits (trust me I really thought it was Jersey Devil), but because of the way I felt when I walked out from the area. Any faith I may have had in anything just went dry. Here’s where that list of “I ain’t got no’s” would end, I ain’t got no faith in me anymore. It wasn’t the first time I found myself without a job, or a home, or without all that other stuff, but this was the first time I really felt like this was the end of it all. “Better to be dead than to keep living like this,” I thought.
Instead, I thought it best to try to see if I could not use for the day. Later I tried a phone call to my wife, asked to see the kids, thought this was a stretch but in my way of thinking at that time I felt that they oughta know I’m trying for the day. Then the weirdest thing happened, my wife told me I could. We set up a time and when I arrived (even though the wife said I stunk from being saturated in alcohol) I was permitted to stay in our home, BUT a lot of things with me had to change. When this season in my life concluded, a faith was instilled in me like no other. That faith has led me to be content in knowing that voice in the woods wasn’t no devil, it was Jesus, and He extended His hand…s o I took it. No Regrets At All!!
“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” — Psalm 125:1
So, I recently decided to reread a book that was once recommended by Pastor Robbie Richardson (yeah his dad was that N.Y. Yankee) at one of the many Colony Reunions that I’ve been privileged to attend. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson takes us on a journey through the Psalms of Ascent. The day I land in the chapter that discusses Psalm 125 was one that caused me pause to remember that I was the man who had seen affliction under the rod of God’s Wrath. And now that I put my trust in the LORD, that same God now surrounds me like the mountains that surround Jerusalem. That’s when my faith isn’t wavering.
He tosses out the phrase “the saw-toothed history of Israel” and explains how Gods Chosen would be singing songs of victory after crossing the Red Sea in one moment, then crying for Egyptian food for dinner the next. Blowing horns and seeing walls fall in Jericho, then participating in ungodly Canaanite practices. Riveted by Jesus’ preaching in the Upper Room one moment, then going about in the courtyard the next denying you even know the Man. It kinda illustrates how we can have a saw-toothed faith as well, doesn’t it? One moment we’re being delivered from a wooded area that’s not really being haunted by the Jersey Devil then we’re stompin’-n-cussin’ behind the steering wheel because grandma just pulled out in front of you, then goes 30 mph less than you, only to suddenly stop at the local yard sale right in front of you the next (alright, that’s me. Please don’t feel convicted, unless that’s you as well).
At the end of the day here’s the kick in the head, it doesn’t matter how I’m feeling about how my situations in life should go. Yes, I think I have better plans for me, but they may not exactly be His plans. If I’m to have that mustard seed of faith then I gotta watch how I feel about taking obedience in the same direction that leads to Christ. This hasn’t been an easy 20-year journey for me, but it sure beats the first 40 I was given and then squandered.
I’m gonna close with this quote from Peterson… “My feelings are important for many things. They are essential and valuable. They keep aware of much that is true and real. But they tell me next to nothing about God or my relation to God. My security comes from who God is, not from how I feel.”
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, and a father. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at email@example.com.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9