Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Hit in the Mouth…
As an aside, I am done with Big Box Institutionalized Church Congregations, you’re nothing but a number, there’s very little real discipleship taking place (trust me, I know first hand as a ministry leader years ago). Those who are hurting and in need cannot get it without a ton of bureaucratic red-tape akin to that of bill passage on Capitol Hill; and that’s even when you have a “ministry” in place that claims to even care long enough to listen to your issues and offer help. It has become a fashion show where the “pastors” are all trying to see how many members they can accrue in a congregation, who can get the nicest edifice, whose Cadillac is newer with the vainest license plate possible, those in the pews speak in false tongues, perpetuate heretical doctrine, conjure up traditions that have nothing to do with the Word of God, are more focused on who dresses the best, but will pass those on the blocks leading up the edifice while looking down at them on condemning fashion, and, have generally gotten away from what the Bible commands Christians to do in these last days: preach the Word of God, make disciples of men and keep up the good fight without wavering.
IN OTHER WORDS, MOST CONGREGATIONS THAT YOU WALK INTO HAVE BECOME APOSTATE.
But with regards to the title of this entry, it is true. How many of us have listened to people pipe on and on about their religious faith — but have never been through anything where they’ve actually had to activate that faith? Do you not find this annoying? It is one thing when it is someone who is speaking from experience and has been through “it” and endured, while utilizing their faith in the process. They can speak from an empathetic standpoint, and it will resonate with you for that reason. However, people — and it’s not just young, naive people like Dwight Howard was entering in the league, we everyone was taking bets Over/Under 18 months before he realized that he had been so sheltered growing up, that all that talk about abstaining in the NBA limelight is mere hooey until the faith that is required to achieve such a lofty goal is ever put to the test — are quick to tell you, “Well, what I would do is (insert random, probably irrelevant Bible scripture here)” and haven’t had to utilize their faith for anything more than getting a passing grade on their Chemistry test in 9th grade.
You haven’t had to overcome a near-death injury or illness (which I personally have).
You haven’t had to wonder how you would summon the strength to go on after losing both of your parents at the same time (thank God I haven’t had to go through this, but I know people personally who have).
You haven’t had to trust God when you lose everything you have, down to the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet — including every dime you had, your car, your job, your income, your savings, your credit score and a place to live, all within a nine-month period (which I endured).
When someone who hasn’t been through those things is trying to tell you how to use your faith in a situation, it is not only ineffective, it is insulting. I was warned back when I was in my mid-teens to “Be careful about asking God for patience and wisdom, because He will take you through (and bring you out of) situations that will grow that knowledge, wisdom and patience in you.” I personally did not care. Wisdom is to be cherished beyond all things. I know, looking back in reflection over the 20 years since I prayed those earnest prayers, that the things that I have overcome and learned from were what has made me who I am today. I would be just as lost as a great number of the people who I came up with if not for that desire to steal away and seek wisdom from elders or instinctively do things that everyone else wasn’t doing. People remark how I have “uncanny and uncommon wisdom for my age”, but what does age have to do with matters more than the desire to actually obtain something that is irrespective of age (wisdom)?
You certainly cannot plan for what you will do after getting with an unexpected right jab to the jaw if you haven’t been hit squarely and had to recover from such a shot previously, can you?