I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayer. – Ezra 8:22-23
It is one thing to “declare” total dependence upon the Lord, but another thing entirely to actually place yourself in a position where there is no other option. Ezra led a small contingent from Babylon back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, having told the king that God would provide what they needed by way of security along the road. He felt that stating a wholehearted trust of God while not actually acting upon that trust would have been hypocritical.
How many of us fail this test? No doubt, many and as a result, our credibility before a watching world is often weakened. You will remember that when Jesus took a walk on the water to join His disciples, all twelve were invited to join Him, but Peter was the only one who actually exited. Yes, he soon feared and started to sink, but he got out and walked!
A church member once expressed wonder at our (my wife’s and my own) great faith. I was quick to let him know how we had so often been scared and anxious about our decisions! Acting in obedience to God’s direction, we had only done what we believed God would have us do, trusting Him to accomplish His purposes in us and through us as a result. Like Peter, we had experienced plenty of “sinking” moments where we cried out for His deliverance.
Remember, hearty faith requires trusting action that communicates the presence of a powerful Savior.
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened. – Billy Graham