Jacob was so frightened that he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two groups…Then Jacob prayed.

~Genesis 32:7,9, CEV


Work as though everything depends on you. Pray as though everything depends on God.

~Saint Augustine

In my prayer time yesterday, I got to thinking about all the things that I am impotent to do. There are things in my life that are beyond my control: I would fix them if I could but the truth is–I cannot fix them. As I listed those things that I cannot do, the LORD reminded me of things that I can do. By the time I was finished, the list of things I can do was longer than the one of things I can’t do. It is easy to get frustrated and even bent out of shape when we worry about those things that we have no control over. The LORD has really convicted me lately about my anxiety which is rooted in unbelief. We must believe in God’s infinite wisdom and power: that He has an eternal master plan and the power to make it happen. The key word is “infinite.” We are not going to understand His plan: we do not have the intellect to do so. C.S. Lewis summed up our response: “We can believe but we cannot know.” Our Creator gave us the capacity to believe but not to know. It is a mystery of sorts but it is God’s way–Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.

So how do we strike the balance between our capacity [what we can do] and our impotence [what we cannot do]? I think the patriarch Jacob is a prime example of finding the proper balance. Jacob’s deceitfulness got him into hot water. By deceiving others, he stayed one step ahead of the executioner for years but eventually, it caught up with him. He is on his way home and he has to confront his brother Esau in order to get to his destination. This is a major problem. Jacob has a family: Esau has an army. Jacob is a shepherd: Esau is a warrior. This is not going to be a fair fight. Jacob is afraid and I don’t blame him, so he takes every precaution he can think of and when he has done all that he could do, the scripture says, “THEN JACOB PRAYED.”

It is not God’s habit to do something for you that you can do for yourself. This is what frustrates me about the deeper lifers…their response to everything is…“I will pray about it.” This is a passive response. Nine times out of ten, it means they are not going to do anything other than pray and sometimes, I doubt that they pray. When you happen upon a bad wreck and you hear someone scream, “Help,” you call 911 immediately…then you pray. God never intended for prayer to be a cop out. God uses human agency to bring help and relief to others. There is a time to pray and there is a time to act. Remember what God told Joshua, “Get up off the ground and do something, Israel has sinned.” Vance Havner’s paraphrase was, “It is no time for a prayer meeting, do something about the problem.

I know you have heard the story of the man stranded on the rooftop of a floating house. A flood had hit his community and he was one of the last victims to be rescued. He was looking up to the heavens and praying “LORD save me.” Two men came by in a boat and they tried to get him to jump from the roof to the water so they could get him in the boat. He refused: too afraid to jump. He told them, “The LORD will save me.” Then they sent a helicopter and lowered a rope ladder but he would not take hold of the ladder. He motioned for them to go on, screaming, “the LORD will save me.” Eventually the house sank and he drowned. When he got to heaven, he said to his guardian angel…I thought y’all were going to save me! The angel said, “We sent you a boat and a helicopter and you refused them both.” God’s uses human agency: He works through people.

The cool front was nice: no complaints from me. I plowed the garden yesterday. It was the first time my tiller “Billard” had been cranked in two months.

Our friend Bob Cook was moved from HH to Athens: this doesn’t happen much. Athens has a rehab unit on the second floor. Bob made a profession of faith yesterday. I don’t know exactly when it happened but he told me as soon as I walked in. I confirmed him and encouraged him. He wants to be baptized ASAP and it wants it to be at Grace Point. Hallelujah, what a Savior. Amazing Grace!

Continue to pray for Lilly G. and Tracey B.

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