Going to the Other Side. Rivers of Faith, Part 15. Faith Tumblers: Relying on Human Wisdom.

San Diego Wild Animal Park

"Are you sure you want leave such a beautiful country to go to a place you hardly know?"

It was my mother-in-law's question to me as my wife and I were saying our goodbyes in California before leaving for Canada.

Seven years before I experienced heavy doubts as well. I had felt compelled to leave my birth country for the United States. Although my faith was weak in those days, I obeyed that voice in my heart that urged me to move to the other side of the world.

Now I was standing with my wife of four years, again filled with doubt. Although I hated to leave a country of honey and milk that I now called home, I couldn't ignore that same voice, the one that again came from the One who would become my Forever Friend.

Logically it didn't make sense, but then logic never got me very far!

I have never regretted the decision I made that day. How can we go wrong when we listen to the One who cares the most for us! Interestingly, my mother-in-law now lives in Canada as well. God truly works in mysterious ways!

Our plans can often change radically, especially if we depend on God! Look at Saul for example.

"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem." (Acts 9:1-2 NIV)

This murder-breathing, self-seeking, spiteful man had only one goal in mind: exterminating this sect called Christianity. However God changed all of that on his way to Damascus when a bright light from above blinded him and Saul clearly heard the One called Jesus exclaim: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4 NIV)

Poor Ananias had no idea what had happened to that so-much feared man. When God came knocking at his door and urged him to see Saul, Ananias was livid! Who wouldn't! Would we like to visit a man whose only goal is to beat us to a pulp?

However, Ananias obeyed. Though it was against his logic, though it didn't make sense, he answered God's call. And that day Paul was born, one of the most accomplished apostles ever!

Truly our own logic and wisdom is left wanting when we read the Bible. Consider the following examples:

Does it make sense to build a boat in a country where rivers and seas are unknown? What about meeting a strong army with praise as our only weapon? Certainly it wasn't wisdom that encouraged Gideon to slash an army from 32000 men to 300, just before combat! Is it even logical to counsel a father to sacrifice his only begotten son? What about leaving the comforts of home in a peaceful country to end up living as a nomad in tents in the middle of the dessert? Was it reasonable for a fugitive wanted for murder to return in the country where he is wanted and demand the pharaoh to release his kin? Is it logical to conquer a fortified town by just marching around it, blowing trumpets? Is it believable that a woman would even consider giving up her so-desired son in order to keep her promise? Is it fathomable to cross a sea by foot in order to reach the safety on the other side? Or even worse, to send a child against a merciless giant of a mercenary?

But then it doesn't make much sense either that Jesus gave himself up to the authorities in order for Him to face an agonizing death on a cross!

These heroes of the faith are so numerous in God's Word and we have just a glimpse of some of them in Hebrews 11. One thing is clear though: "Weakness was turned to strength…" (Heb 11:34 NIV)

Somewhere in our hearts we long to be one of them, to be used mightily by the One we call Father. But to find it, logic and wisdom are just not enough. Our human reasoning may even hold us back from truly experiencing God in such a way. Remember, with God, everything goes against human logic! Maybe this is why He encourages us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…" (Prov 3:5 NIV)

In the past century we as Christians have erred by putting reason above anything else. I once attended a church that proclaimed that miracles were for the past. The results of such attitude? Faith was stripped of the supernatural!

No wonder so many believers starve for tips, steps and techniques! Can't we see that our common sense life can be and is our number 1 enemy concerning experiencing the supernatural life, promised by our Father Himself?

We may have all the myriads of steps and techniques at hand. We may even have our morals and precepts in order. But where is our living God? Do we let Him have even the tiniest bit of room in our heart? How can we hear His call if we fill our brain with what we call common sense? How would the giants of faith of the past have succeeded if they had relied on their own wisdom?

Relying on human reason is naïve, and it has left us in a very treacherous situation. The only way out of this mess is to turn to our Guide, our Captain, our Leader and learn from Him how to expect the impossible.

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb 12:1b-3 NIV)

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26 NIV)

That Guide is the only One who will lead us to undulated pure truth. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NIV)

He is the One who will teach us that nothing is truly impossible with God at our side! "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify…" (John 15:26-27 NIV)

Will we put our trust in Him? It all depends on whether or not we want to experience the miraculous. But once touched by His presence, nobody will ever be able to stop us from testifying like He does. Discouragement will no longer be our norm. Human logic won't make sense any longer. God will be the only encouragement we need. The size of our ministry won't be important, but letting God reign in our heart will!

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." (2 Chron 15:7 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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