Devotional – Friday, August 7, 2020

FAITH (with a capital “F”)

The Charles Blondin Story:

The story is told that during the summer of 1859, after several successful traverses of a 160-foot high, quarter-of-a-mile wide tightrope across Niagara Falls (once in a sack, once on stilts, on a bicycle, once carrying a stove and cooking an omelet, and later walking backward pushing a wheelbarrow), that aerialist Charles Blondin asked the large crowds who had “Ooooohed” and “Aaaaahed!” at his achievements, “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?” He had proven beyond a doubt that he could do it. So of course, the crowd shouted, “Yes, we believe!” It was then that Blondin posed the question: “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?” Of course… none1 did.

The story of Charles Blondin paints a real-life picture of what faith is. The crowd had watched his daring feats. They said they believed, but their actions proved they truly did not.

How can this story NOT bring an anxious comparison to the minds of all good Christians, who strive for true spiritual faith? In our hearts, we know that it is one thing for us to say we believe in God; but quite another to lay everything on the line for our faith.2

God has promised a future where there is no sorrow, suffering or death; and He offers immeasurable heavenly reward to those who would, in this life, traverse the difficult “road less traveled” prescribed as our true course. But wow, is this road scary!  We do not know the way, and we are NOT in control of our fate. Yet God has assured us: Don’t be afraid, I will be with you, I am able to save, I am able to provide, I am able to do all things, My word never returns unrealized!

The Bible is FULL of stories where faith is put to the test, and God’s saving miracles prove that His words cannot fail. One of my favorites comes from the book of Daniel in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:1-30) who, when confronted with a punishment of being burned alive for their refusal to worship the Babylonian gods and the golden statue of the Babylonian king, replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the One we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, He will save us; and even if He does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.” (Daniel 3:16-19). These men were willing to face the possibility that they would NOT be saved, BECAUSE they believed in God’s ultimate promises of goodness and salvation. What faith!

  • Do we have faith to release our pain, envy and anger?
  • Do we have faith to release our worry and doubt?
  • Do we have faith to lay our sickness and grief on God?
  • Do we have faith to give God ultimate control of our money?
  • Do we have faith to give God control of our relationships?
  • Do we have faith to relinquish the desires of our hearts to God?
  • Do we have faith to strive for righteousness with all our energy?
  • Do we have faith to relinquish control of our lives, even if it should require condemnation or pain?

None of us knows the ultimate cost of discipleship that might be required of us. Certainly, it is exacted over time and with each decision we make. But at each juncture… may we remember that God has commanded, “Do not doubt!” Let us pray then for true faith that casts away all fear and doubt. 

O God,
Author of Wisdom, Essence of Love, Creator of the Universe,
All-Powerful… but perfect in Power,
Holy and Changeless, Alpha and Omega, the One True God,

Although You have granted us knowledge to understand Your creation,
And talents and strength to work…
It is You who have created, You that bestows and sustains life!
Your plans can never fail.  You are able to achieve all that You set out to do.
Forgive our human frailty… our fear to accept a cost that might be required of us;
And our reluctance to relinquish self-control and the things our hearts desire.
Remind us that Your ways are ultimately far better than anything we can imagine.
Give us the love, courage and FAITH to follow You without reserve!

Amen.  

Offered by Judy Lester

1 Later in August of 1859 his manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin’s back across the Falls
 2 https://www.creativebiblestudy.com/Blondin-story.html – Copyright by The Lockman Foundation. Used with permission. http://www.Lockman.org

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