Rain poured down and thunder boomed one dark night in September in Western Oklahoma. It had been a quiet, pleasant evening at the nursing center, and nurses and residents alike were enjoying the cooler weather when the scream of the local tornado siren tore through the night sky, warning of impending danger, hovering unseen in the darkness.
The nurses and aides looked at each other in surprise, then quickly began moving residents to the safe rooms. One able-bodied resident sprang into action, quickly pushing one wheelchair after another into the small shelter room as frightened residents tried to comprehend the sudden change of events. After the residents were moved into the rooms, one 80 year old resident, seeing the fear in the eyes of the frightened residents around her, stood up from her wheelchair and announce she would lead everyone in prayer, which she proceeded to do. In the strongest voice her frail body could produce, her faith filled words rang out over the bowed heads of the frightened elderly group and peace fell over the room as she prayed, though peals of thunder crashed through the darkness outside the building. At the end of the prayer, the woman’s roommate, who had leapt to action earlier, helping to get everyone quickly into the sheltered rooms, then began to sing a joyful hymn, and soon everyone else joined in.
That night, amidst fear and uncertainty, workers at the center could hear the angelic voices of the residents resonating out with faith from their safe rooms.
What do you rely on to get you through the hard times in life? Everyone puts their faith in something. Where is your faith? Is it in your job or career? Your education? Your friends, relationship or marriage? Your children? The stock market? What do you rely on to make you happy, take care of you, to save you from sickness and sorrow? Whatever your answer is, that is where your faith is.
We tend to invest our time, money and energy into what we believe will make us the happiest, what will get us through life with the most advantages. Whatever we give our time, money and energy to, that is the power we really believe in. It may be our images, our careers, educations, relationships, our God, our position in the community, or our children. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are worshipping it with our thoughts, our time, our finances and our energy. That is where your thoughts are, that is where your faith is.
Everyone alive has faith in something. Your actions tell the truth about where your faith really is. For many, their words say their faith is in one place, but their actions speak a much louder truth. How you live shows what you really believe in.
It wasn’t great courage the woman and her roommate had that night, it was great faith. They had faith that they would be protected no matter what destruction raged in the storms around them. They chose faith instead of fear. Their faith was so strong it helped others not to be afraid.
Faith is simply trust and confidence instead of doubt and fear. If you have real faith, you don’t need courage to face the storms of life without fear.
“A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
(This is a true story. The woman in the wheelchair was my sweet little Mom, who has since gone home to be with the Lord, and her roommate, Miss Betty Woods, who has also since gone home to be with the Lord. This story is excerpted from Sidewalk Flowers, Vol. 1)
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