“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58 NIV)
Driving back late to L’Anse-aux-Meadows from the Labrador-Newfoundland ferry, we discovered that we were NOT the only creatures using the highway. In fact, it seemed that this was a favorite “trail” for numerous sorts of wildlife-porcupines, possums, racoons, to name just a few! We successfully avoided running any of them over; however one species in particular proved to be harder to avoid than the others: The moose. And of course, it is ESPECIALLY advisable to NOT hit one of these, for though the moose usually loses his life in the adventure, he goes down fighting. Much to the detriment of car!
About halfway from the ferry landing, we met our first moose. Actually, she was pretty hard to miss, standing proudly in the middle of the road, head held high, defying us to come any closer. If you have never seen a full-grown moose, then imagine an oversized army tank made out of concrete. Yikes!
With the moose possessing the road in this manner, it was obvious we had a choice to make:
a. We could play “chicken”. We could push the gas pedal to the floor and barrel straight toward the moose, hoping she would move out of the way;
b. We could slow down and try to bypass her without hitting her. To accomplish this on such a narrow road, however, would require driving in the ditch;
c. We could stop the car and wait for her to decide to move out of our way, ever hoping that any other unfortunate vehicle on the road would see us before it was too late; or
d. We could turn around and go the other way, abandoning our tent trailer at L’Anse-aux-Meadows and sleeping in the car instead.
We decided on option number three, and it proved to be the best choice. We only waited five minutes before she decided that the bushes looked inviting and left the road. Ouf! We had successfully avoided a disaster! Thank you Lord!
Fifteen minutes later, we met our next moose-a huge bull. Since choice number three had worked for us the first time, we decided to try it again, and once again, after just a few moments, the bull-moose moved off the road. He, however, didn’t disappear into the bushes. Instead, he stood on the side of the road and watched us, as if defying us to try to cross into “his” part of the road! We crept forward, inching towards that massive head of colossal antlers, until we were just in front of him. Then, as if he couldn’t stand the fact that we were ignoring his warning, he started moving down the side of the road, just fast enough to stay abreast of the van.
My wife, who was driving, wisely pushed down on the gas pedal, but as we sped up, the bull broke into a run. Was it racing us or was it trying to chase us? Either way, we had no idea just how fast a moose could run! Fortunately our van was still the fastest, and in a few moments, that bull-moose was far behind. He didn’t give up the race yet, though. Although we’d obviously won fair and square, he continued barrelling down the side of the road after us.
Fortunately, we were no longer in any kind of danger. Once again, we had avoided a disaster by making the appropriate choice. Thank you Lord!
Every time we are faced with trials, we have choices to make. Even though every kind of trial is different, they all have something in common: they all act to discourage us from attaining our goal! When facing trials we also have four possible choices:
a. We can barrel into them, depending on our own power alone, hoping they will move away;
b. We can slow down and creep onward, hoping to avoid having to face the problem (e.g.: switching churches in the face of church conflict);
c. We can stop on our tracks and wait on the Lord for direction; or
d. We can turn around and try to avoid the problem completely by ignoring it (strange but this seems never to work!).
It is sad to see that so many believers stop any ministry activity when facing trials. Some go so far as to stop going to church, some even stop communicating with the One who has the solution to their problems.
By going through the trial without God as your partner, you miss a tremendous blessing and disaster strikes head on. By avoiding the trial altogether, you just postpone the inevitable. If not deftly dealt with, these trials just reappear. When we stop any involvement in God’s ministry, though it SEEMS to cover up the problem, it often makes the trials bigger, not smaller. Only when you allow God to be your partner can you successfully deal with the tempests of life.
The Bible constantly encourages to stand firm and rely on God for guidance. Why are we so hard-headed in following this advice? Is it possible that we like feeling sorry for ourselves?
The only solution is found in God’s Word. Let us take to heart its advice:
“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:8 NIV)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)
Look out! Bull-moose ahead! What choice will YOU make?