Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Under-appreciated Faith

As I looked back down West End Avenue, all I could see was a ocean of people. Over 32,000 had gathered to run the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon. All I can tell you is, "That is a bunch of human beings!"

The start was staggered, with 33 different corrals going off one at a time. This was done in order to give more space to the runners and to help the race go smoothly. Every participant was measured by a special race chip on their shoe to record the actual time it took them to complete the race.

Even with all of this organization, it was still quite chaotic. For many it was hard to move without bumping into other people. With that many people on the streets of Nashville, you can imagine there were some who got sick, some who needed medical attention, and some who simply could not finish what they started.

Looking behind me from the third corral, just before the race began, one thought came into my mind: The Israelites crossing the Red Sea. I began to think about what it took for the estimated two million people to travel together in unfavorable circumstances. We were only 32,000! We only had racing gear and bib numbers. These people had all their livestock and were moving their every possession.

Hebrews 11:29 reminds us about God's chosen people - "By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned." We only think about the mumbling, the doubt, the fear, and the backwardness of this nation during the exodus. Have we ever considered what kind of faith would have been required to walk two million people and all they had through the long miles of that miraculously walled-up sea?

Maybe some faith is under-appreciated. We champion the faith of great ministers of the gospel, but what of the men who preach in anonymity? We celebrate great accomplishments, but what of the simple daily tasks that summon the same courage? We call to mind great lessons taught to us by famous men, but what about the lessons we have learned from little, elderly women?

We need to give the common Christian more credit. It takes an uncommon measure of faith to enter the spiritual race, and more to finish. You have to believe that God will offer safe passage. You have to keep going when you want to turn back. You have to believe that the end is going to be better than the beginning, and that the entire process will be worth all the effort.

It is going to cost every person the same price to cross over - Faith! "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith" (1 John 5:4).

"But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle." ~ Exodus 13:18