“But 'he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.' For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
Last night at the dinner table our family strolled down memory lane together for a while and discussed the ups and downs of the cruises we have taken together. With our schedules the way it has been as of late, this little mental trip was about all we have had time to spare in taking a family vacation, so it was a great joy for all of us to dream about maybe a trip in the future some day while remembering the wonderful things we do have to look back on from past vacations.
As I was reading my devotionals this morning, I came across a story about George Mueller I had never heard before regarding a cruise he had been taking across the Atlantic and I thought I would share it with you since it reminded me just how much in our lives we pray for things or stumble towards a direction God desires for us to go, but at the same time lack the faith to really believe in what we pray or that our actions will really bring about regarding what God has shown us He will do to bring about His glory.
A number of years ago I went to America with a steamship captain who was a very devoted Christian. When we were off the coast of Newfoundland, he said to me, “The last time I sailed here, which was five weeks ago, something happened that revolutionized my entire Christian life. I had been on the bridge for twenty-four straight hours when George Mueller of Bristol, England, who was a passenger on board, came to me and said, 'Captain, I need to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.' 'That is impossible,' I replied. 'Very well,' Mueller responded, 'if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way, for I have never missed an engagement in fifty-seven years. Let's do down to the chartroom to pray.'”
“I looked at this man of God and thought to myself, 'What lunatic asylum did he escape from? I had never encountered some like this. 'Mr. Mueller,' I said, 'do you not realize how dense the fog is?' 'No,' he replied. 'My eye is not on the dense fog but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.''
“He then knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers I've ever heard. When he had finished, I started to pray, but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. He said, 'First, you do not believe God will answer, and second I believe He has. Consequently, there is no need whatsoever for you to pray about it.'”
“As I looked at him, he said, 'Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, there has never been even a single day that I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up Captain, and open the door, and you will see that the fog is gone.' And on Saturday afternoon George Mueller was in Quebec for his meeting.”
Faith to boldly pray and boldly act on what God has told you is very different than creeping into a prayer or creeping towards the actions the Lord has instructed you to follow. Think of the young man who desired to follow Jesus, but yet wanted to go back and get somethings settled at home before he joined the group and then compare him to the disciples who dropped nets and left businesses without a thought of what the world would think or do if they chose to be so bold to follow the assertions of their calling.
One of the first passages I read this morning during my time with the Lord was from 1 Corinthians 7, and I just could not make sense of it. I looked up cross-reference passages and tried to eek some meaning out of the commentary notes in my study bible, but none of them made any sense to me about what Paul was trying to say in these particular verses, but now after reading through the story about George Mueller and the ship captain, as well as thinking about the discrepancy between the disciples and the reluctant young man who wanted to follow Jesus but could not put the world behind his calling, I now see these words in a new light and I hope you do too as you read this:
“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away." 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Our time is short and we do not have time to waste thinking about those things of earthly importance we when receive a word from the Lord. We just need to live in faith that when God calls, He has already sorted out how everything else in our lives and in our circumstances will line up to make His plan work – we alone though have the ability to believe and act on what we have heard or the ability to not believe and walk away from His calling.
Living in bold faith never becomes an easy task – it is always scary to not know where your foot will land next when you step out in faith as the Lord calls. But just as Mr. Mueller attested to and many stories from my past attest to also, the Lord NEVER lets those he calls and those who are willing to let go of what they see in trade for what they cannot see towards failure. God is faithful, and our boldness in following Him only reflects just how faithful He is to a world that would much rather cling to tangible and sensible human knowledge.