When I was a young boy of fourteen, I lived in the country seven miles south of Trenton, Texas. I enjoyed walking in the country across cow pastures and playing in the creek. On one hot Summer afternoon I went further down the creek than ever before. I crawled through a large culvert under the highway going to Leonard, which was an equal distance from my house as is Trenton. When I stepped out of that culvert on the other side of the highway the greatest fear struck me than I had ever experienced.
There was not one but hundreds of them, little baby snakes! I was on a small stone stepping through a minefield of baby water moccasins. Had I fallen from the stone or stood upon, these little slithering monsters would kill as many they were able. Both banks of the creek were about eight feet from the surface of the creek bed. I eased my way quickly and cautiously to the side. Little serpents marked my every move. I got to the side and climbed the crumbly dry dirt as best I could but slipped. I climbed with all my might and made it to the top where I met Pepper my dog. The German shepherd stayed by my side as I took up the stretch home at a slow and steady pace. About a quarter mile later this guy pulls along beside me and says, “Are you tired of walking?” “Yes,” I replied. I ran up to reach for the door handle. “Run a while!” he says and sped off, leaving me filled with anger and frustration. I marched home on blistered feet from walking in wet shoes. I made it home and washed up for dinner.
I tell you this true story to illustrate to you a biblical truth. When we step out into the world we are surrounded with not one sly serpent but a multitude of poisonous enemies. They lie in wait, staring at us and lusting to strike with the venom of pernicious little demons. Life’s snakes threaten but we can climb the bank. We can find the faith that enables us to defy the ugliness of little satans. We grow up with blistered feet from the long walk. We get angry and frustrated. We find ourselves irritated by those who taunt us. The promotion that management passed us over for a lesser skilled employee is not a closed door. It is a teacher that tells us God has something better in mind. The cancer that seemingly cannot be contained in a family member feels like a whole mess of depression and worry. It will not prevent our hope from pressing on. There is a much bigger blessing ahead. That certification test we need for work that we’ve taken six times – don’t give up. Take it one more time; there is a career ahead. God does not leave us without trials because that is what builds confidence in our faith. We press on because we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Maybe we will slip off the bank from time to time. But, God will not leave us without hope to climb all the way to the top. God has a blessing that is much larger than this life. We are his children. No tender parent neglects the nurturing of grace.
Take into consideration the really big picture. It’s like when Solomon prayed for wisdom instead of worldly wealth. God rewarded him in every way (1 Kings 3). Our reward is even greater than Solomon’s for living for Jesus. God is the giver of all blessings isn’t He? Jesus tells us not to stress over the worries of this life (Matthew 6). I don’t know how you think but as for me, I know for a fact that I can see God’s influence in my life. As I look back in my history since baptism, there have been times when I have been severely depressed to the point of hospitalization but God saw me through. It was God who kept my footing as I climbed the bank. It seems to me that anyone who would deny the operation of God in the Christian’s life is lacking something. I can also tell you that anytime I try to push God around and tell Him how I think things should work and press my way on His way, I always fail. When I pray to God and ask for wisdom in every situation and every plan I make, things seem to always work better.
Do you believe God when Paul was inspired to write this verse?
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27; NASB).
Do we have help or not? Does God understand us or not? Does He know what we go through in the agonies of the little poisonous demons we are afflicted with or not? I believe God is not dead to me. I have the faith that when I am weak He is my strength. Paul said so in Philippians 4:13. So what if my business does not succeed for three years in a row? There is a bigger blessing in store. Let God’s will be larger than my will. Yield with me before the Lamb of life. The biggest blessing is not of this world anyway. It is in the hope of Heaven. That’s where the true wealth is. That is the place where there are no tears, no suffering, and no more long walks with the blistered feet of anxiety, frustration and depression. We are too blessed to be depressed. There is more to gain in Christ than there is to be compared to the suffering in this present world. Spiritual riches with an everlasting promise of the paradise of God is our hope, goal and eager expectation. Don’t fear the snakes. Let’s climb the bank and walk home. No matter who mocks, jests or sneers we are determined to trust our God.
-Donny Weimar, TBC Online Instructor