I have a friend whose faith is very solid. She prays with her four kids every morning, is involved with many activities at church, reads her Bible regularly and has an active prayer life. She is what many of us would call a “model Christian” – if there could be such a thing.
Last Sunday, my friend, (we will call her Martha to protect the innocent) bid farewell to her husband for nine months as he deployed to Iraq. After a tearful good-bye, she took the four kids to church and then home to have a lazy, rainy day.
When the rain subsided and showed signs of clearing, she took advantage of the break in the rain to go for a walk with a friend. Martha lives about 25 miles out of town on a small farm – on the plains of West Texas – and her friend lives a few miles down the road. They met, parked their cars and took off walking. They had just turned around at the halfway point and were heading home when it began to rain. Martha and her friend quickened their pace back to the waiting cars.
All of a sudden, a great clap of thunder sounded with an accompanying flash of lightening. You never want to be outside when it is lightening but, trust me; you really do not want to be walking down a barren country road in West Texas where the only things higher than the cedar bushes are the mesquite trees. And they aren’t very high.
With Martha’s husband flying to Iraq, the first thing that came to her mind was her children back at the house and she said to herself, “Oh my, I can’t get struck by lightning and die.”
In a panic, she took off running as lightning flashed again. As she ran, she began to jody like she was on a military run. Only, her jody wasn’t one that rhymed or had a good beat to help her keep the pace.
Instead, it went something like this, “Oh, Sh–, Oh, Sh–, Oh, Sh–.”
Martha’s friend caught up with her and calmly said, “Martha, how about we quit cursing and call on the almighty name of God?”
Martha was immediately convicted and though she kept up her pace, she began to pray that God would protect them and help them. No sooner had they finished their petition than a truck rounded the corner. A nearby neighbor was heading their way! Martha and her friend were able to ride with the neighbor back to their cars and then home to the safety of their homes and families.
Later, as she humbly relayed the story to me, we both got a big laugh out of it. I could envision my friend running down the barren country road in a panic. Trying to get back to her children. Cussing along the way. And she does not cuss. (Unless lightening is threatening her life, I guess.)
But, after the tears of laughter were dabbed away, we talked about how often we react in the flesh – trying to do things in our own power and strength – often sinning along the way. For those of us who have walked with the Lord long enough to have seen his power and provisions, shouldn’t our first response to crisis be, “Oh, God, Oh God, Oh God?” It should be, but many of us – whether we say it out loud or not – are thinking something along the lines of what Martha said as we try to control a situation.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2.
Lord, help me trust in You first. You are my refuge and my fortress.