Sunday, September 4, 2016

Child-like Faith

September has arrived and summer is already behind us.  This past summer was such a full one.  It included 2 trips to the west coast when I retrieved (and then returned) our 6 year old grandson so Nana and Cha Cha could have him to ourselves for a week at our home in the U.P.

On the first trip, my daughter-in-love suggested a day at the beach with her two little dudes. Since the Pacific Ocean was no more than an hour’s drive, it sounded like a great plan!

What an adventure!  We chose to park ourselves at Cannon Beach, a rather well known area.  The natural beauty was breathtaking; we loved the broad beach area and Haystack Rock stood tall and formidable looking.  It may have been July but the air was brisk and the Pacific Ocean was mysterious, cold and a bit on the wild side.

Henry (age 6) was ready to enjoy everything the beach had to offer.  Didn’t matter that it was an overcast and cool-ish day.  The water beckoned him and the pattern of the shallow waves made for a grand wading experience.

Mom (Kerry) wasn’t surprised by Henry’s daring attitude.  At the ripe old age of 6 he has conquered a few challenges (gymnastics, swim lessons, martial arts, to name a few) and all have helped him acquire skills and confidence.

Gus (age 2) however, surprised his mother with a show of bravery that had not been present the last time they were at the beach.  Perhaps we saw a bit of Henry’s influence?  Whatever it was, Gus would walk into the waves with mom, let go of her hand and venture out a few feet.  Then a small wave would roll in and he would run back to the safety of mommy’s welcoming hand.

Gus repeated this experience again and again.  In time, as his confidence and courage surged, he would be less intimidated.  Gus was getting soaking wet! (They did not have bathing suits on because we thought it would be too chilly….silly us! They are boys, after all!)  Those scary waves became less frightening because Mom was nearby. 

As I watched Gus go through this process, I saw a beautiful analogy.  Don’t we learn to trust God in the same way?  As we go into unknown territory, as we face the big waves of life, as we go into challenges that threaten to pull us under – we are safe if we take our Heavenly Father’s hand in total trust.

So what does that actually look like?  I mentally chewed on that question for a time and came up with 3 specifics:
1.     I must spend time (daily) reading and studying my Bible, meditating on specific verses or even a chapter or whole book.
2.     It’s important to spend time talking to and listening to God through prayer.  It’s nothing weird or magical; I hear Him speak to me through His Word, through fellowship with other believers and through Christian music.
3.     And I claim His promises, the ones He wrote using human hands, from what we call “the Bible”.

I love the story of Moses; at the end of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness the whole bunch was on the cusp of arriving at their destination.  Moses had been selected by God to lead the Israelites (this far, anyway) but at the very end, Joshua was to take them into the land itself. 
Moses gave Joshua instructions in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies) for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
 Just as little 2 year old Gus had confidence to venture into the unknown because his mommy was nearby with that available hand, we also can have that same confidence in our Lord.    

Every time we venture into our unknowns, we can lean into the love, strength, courage and promises of God.  Grab His hand and take a step of faith.  If you want to learn more about trusting the only One Who is totally trustworthy, please send me an email at jmvader45@gmail.com.  I would love to encourage you.

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