"When they had been brought safely through,...The natives showed us extraordinary kindness." Acts 28:1-2
The greatest level of fear is reached somewhere between the mad dash that takes a person through the crisis, and to
the safe landing. This kind of a roller-coaster experience is not so much a test of faith, as it is a revelation of character. Words flow easily and readily from a heart filled with either fear or faith. Believing prayer will express them both, at one time or another.
Praying people learn to embrace the crisis, and listen to the voice of God in the midst of it. Prayerless people try to shout down the crisis, and control it by the sheer force of their own will power. Praying through a crisis is uplifting. Talking it to death only breathes new life into it. It is exhausting.
When my wife Dana was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2008, she immediately called it her "Great Adventure." I had a different perspective on the devastating news. While Dana embraced it, and saw God in it, I resented it, and missed His comforting Presence. It's a man thing.
The longer the crisis lasted, the harder it was to get through it with a sense of God's hand upon us. His hand started feeling like His thumb driving us into the ground in defeat, not His gentle touch, walking us down the path to a victory.
Prayer does not always lead to a quick fix or an immediate end to a crisis. Still, it God's way, for Christ followers to sense His Spirit's Presence in the middle of it. Full of fear? Pray. Empty of faith? Pray. Either way. Pray. Delaying praying leads to straying. Don't miss the adventure.
My friend, Paul Burleson, reminded me today of a great G.K. Chesterton quote on having the right perspective in the middle of an adventure. Thanks, Paul.
"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton
When the Apostle Paul and his shipmates crash-landed on the shores of Malta, they were met with a welcome mat from "the natives" of the island. Luke describe their reception as being marked by "extraordinary kindness." v. 2
Some crises last longer than others. They don't make sense, and are not easily embraced. Though Paul and his companions were well-received, don't be deceived. Being kicked to the curb does not always end in being picked up by a Cadillac. Those who offer prayer formulas that always provide positive results don't sell many books in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, or anywhere else martyrs are dying for their faith today.
Note to self: Prayer flows from a heart filled with fear or faith. Don't fake it til you make it. Pour out the fear in your heart to God, until He fills Your heart with the faith to see Him in the middle of your crisis. Give Him time, and take your eyes of your watch. This may take a while. If someone has the nerve to tell you to "get over it" resist the urge to pray that God will take the crisis from you and give it to them.
During the past five years, Dana has been through toxic chemo sessions, experienced the loss of all her hair, the removal of both breasts, and a host of other side effects that come with the battle against this evil disease. Cancer is no respecter of persons, and it hits hard, great and small, rich and poor.
Through it all my wife chose to be a victor, and never a victim. I have had a front row seat to this fight. Believe me when I say, it has given me a whole new appreciation for the phrase, "Fight Like a Girl." What I once used as a playground put down to a school yard bully carries a new meaning for me today. Fight like a girl, indeed.
I have seen courage up close and personal. I have heard Dana praise God, during the darkest night of her soul, and through the hardest fight for her life. The five years on our way between through it and to it, God has landed us both on some unexpected beaches. Often "the natives" have shown us "extraordinary kindness." Sometimes they have been village idiots.
The point: It simply doesn't matter how restless the natives are, as long as God is in control, we are at peace. The "Great Adventure" continues. Thank you for praying with us every step along the way. See you at the beach party. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!