The story is told about a man whose house started to be surrounded by floodwaters. His opportunity for escape on foot was soon swamped. But, he prayed expressing trust that God would bless him with a dynamic deliverance.
Eventually, the waters submerged his front porch. Someone in a rowboat oared by, and invited the man to safety by way of the boat. However, the man replied, “No, I am trusting in God. He will deliver me.”
The floods continued to rise, forcing the man to the upstairs of the house. One in a motorboat approached the house, and offered a rescue. But, the man once again expressed his trust in God’s deliverance.
The man was soon forced onto the roof. A helicopter arrived, and dropped a rescue ladder down to him. “Go help someone else,” he called. “God will provide deliverance for me!”
The sad news is that the man who trusted God for a dynamic deliverance was eventually swept off the roof, and was drowned. The good news is that he went to Heaven. But, he was mad as a hornet as he walked up to God.
“Lord, I trusted in you for one of your dynamic deliverances, and I wound up drowning in that flood!”
The Lord replied sternly, “You big dummy! I sent you two boats and a helicopter—-what else did you want?”
Everyday, people want God to respond to them for a variety of reasons. Such is absolutely approved by Scripture for those who understand the rightness of depending on God. Thus, the practice of supplications, intercessions, and requests are trustful outreaches to God in which it is expected He will in due course respond.
But, trusting Him in the right way is key. How is it we should trust Him in the right way?
Obviously, as demonstrated by the flood victim, the great concern insists that we correctly view the ways, means, and times God responds to our trust in Him. Boats and helicopters may not seem classy enough for us, but these are suggestive of how God often responds to our trust. In other words, it is not always the spectacular through which God responds to our trust in Him. It is not always the spectacular through which God blesses us.
For example, when the prophet Elijah fled before Jezebel’s killing threat, Elijah undoubtedly expected God to send a spectacular deliverance. After all, though he was good at running, he could only run so far.
Taking refuge in a cave, Elijah was clearly dejected about his undelivered situation. Suddenly, spectacular things began to happen. There were a violent wind, an earthquake, and a fire. But, God was not using these phenomena as a means of responding to Elijah’s trust for deliverance.
Rather, God responded in “a still small voice.”
It is the unfortunate truth that people get turned off to God if He does not always bless in supernatural terms. However, the deepest and richest responses of God to our trusting Him most often come by way of those things seemingly unexciting.
Years ago, a certain man whom I frequently visited wanted to give me something before I left. Hamp Carpenter was his name. Usually he wanted to give me a few dollars for my visits. But, this particular time, the only thing available to him was an over-ripe banana.
I accepted his gift. But, after leaving his house, I rolled down the window of my car to toss the banana. But, before I did, it occurred to me that in actuality that over-ripe banana was a blessing from the Lord through Hamp. It was then that I received it with the recognition it was God’s response to my prayerful requests that He bless me with every deep, rich blessing He wants me to have. I rolled the car window back up, peeled the banana, and ate it My soul was cheered.
God very well may be providing for you in steady increments. If you are trusting Him in the right way, you will easily recognize it to the spectacular excitement of your soul!
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.