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 2014 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
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

December 24, 2014 12811

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 25, 2014 8877

Gift Returns Done Right

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 25, 2014 6350

Arrests Made After Dulin Avenue Christmas Eve…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
December 25, 2014 4609

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - December 25, 2014

in Video by Crime Stoppers
December 23, 2014 4189

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 4133

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 23, 2014 3658

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 23, 2014 3274

Disturbance Results in Vehicle, Foot Pursuit,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Tyler Russell
December 26, 2014 3152

5-Year-Old Boy Kills Buck/Doe

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Randy Adams
December 26, 2014 3141

2014 Looking Back: World Mourns Watson Family…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

December 27, 2014 2516

John Prine to be Recognized at Grammy Awards

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 2138

2014 Concludes with Record Investments for…

in Top News For All Sites by Angela Blank
December 28, 2014 1932

Patriot to Idle Two Mines Tomorrow; 600-700 Jobs…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 27, 2014 1559

Four Time Management Tips for the New Year by…

in General News For All Sites by David Taylor
December 26, 2014 1455

Simple Ways to Maintain Your Mental Acuity

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1339

The Dangers of Belly Fat

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1315

How to Live as a One Income Family

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1315

Women's Heart Attack Symptoms Can Differ from…

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1309

What to Look for in An Investment Property

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1224

Keeping the Faith - 'The Puzzles of the Past'

in General News For All Sites by Ronnie McBrayer

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 © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss