Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Never Left Hanging (First Week of Advent)

ronniemcbrayer300 green2KENTUCKY (12/1/13) - There is a story told a hundred different ways but with the same punch line; it is about a man who falls off a cliff. He slips over the edge, careening and banging downward. Then, as if by miracle, his pants snag for just a millisecond on the skinniest of tree branches. He quickly grabs hold of it, and for the moment remains alive, though he is hanging thousands of feet above the ground.

He can’t climb up, and he can’t lower himself to the canyon floor below. Stuck as he is, with no one else to call upon, and powerless to save himself, he looks heavenward and prays: “Dear God! Please help me!” A thunderous but calming voice answers from heaven: “Do you trust Me, My beloved son?”

The man cries out in return, “Yes, God, I trust you! Please save me!” God answers, “Okay, just let go of the branch and I will catch you.” The man thinks about this offer and his situation for a moment, and looking at the jagged rocks below him, calls out: “Well…is there anyone else up there who can help me?”

Sometimes we want God to intervene. To help us, save us; to show up. His voice and presence, more often than not, are slow in arriving. But sometimes – on rare and unusual occasions – God does speak. He acts. He intervenes. He appears. And when he does, it often results in more trepidation than if he had held his tongue and remained elusive.

Think of Moses standing barefoot at the burning bush; Jacob in a surprise wrestling match with the Angel of the Lord; Saul, blind and blathering on the Damascus road. As Annie Dillard said of those of us who casually enter our church sanctuaries each week, “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? We should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews…For the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.”

Advent, which begins this week, is no exception to this experience. It is the rule. God speaks – God arrives – and even though it is in the form of a helpless baby, the world is turned upside down. Shepherds quake. Angels sing. Mary trembles. Awe-inspired Magi bow in reverence. Joseph, a stunned carpenter, probably wonders if someone “else up there” could deliver him from the delivery of this child.

What was it all about? Faith, no doubt. All of these characters are asked to “leap” from their secure perches to land in God’s arms. They are all asked to believe that the baby, “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger,” is indeed the Promised One of God, a uniquely born gift to the world. Are we not all asked to believe the same?

And this Advent season is about listening to the voice of God. I am very much aware that when one speaks of “hearing God’s voice,” it might be time to call the paddy wagon. Great lunacies have been committed by individuals convinced that they were on a divine mission. Some of these insanities have crossed over into atrocity.

But to hear God speak, deep within our hearts, is not necessarily a sign of mental illness. It can be; just like finding Jesus' image in a bag of cheese puffs or an icon of the Virgin Mary on the back of a piece of raisin toast at the Waffle House. It can be a manipulative way to dupe the spiritually naïve (or sell a pile of books just before the holiday season).

Yet, on those rare and unusual occasions, Annie Dillard is right: “The waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.” Yes, Advent means that God has spoken and will continue to speak. It means that God has and will continue to intervene. And in the process, God will demand ruthless trust. But, he is trustworthy, and will never leave you hanging.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted
button coupons
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
button classifieds

In Other News...

Apollo Teachers Injured by Student with Multi-Tool

OWENSBORO, Ky. (1/27/15) — According to a Daviess County Sheriff's Department report, a disturbance occurred at Apollo… Read More

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (1/27/15) — The following indictments were recently handed down by a Hopkins County Grand Jury.… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 9346

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 7377

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 6823

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 6431

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5854

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 5629

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 26, 2015 5320

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 23, 2015 4704

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 22, 2015 3806

Local Family Business Changes Hands

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 3724

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller

Stories Trending Today

January 26, 2015 3384

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 2825

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight, Hopkins Circuit Clerk
January 27, 2015 1304

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 27, 2015 913

NHRA North Central Division Names Dallas Jones…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Telia Butler
January 27, 2015 880

Power of a Positive Attitude

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 865

Whitfield Works to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 27, 2015 862

Restless Legs Syndrome Affects Many

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 717

Practice Weather-Related Pet Safety

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 605

UPDATE - Death Investigation

in Local (Henderson) Top News by Henderson Police Department
January 27, 2015 603

Breakthroughs for Circuit Clerks' Organ Donation…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss