Summary: In times of trouble, trust in the Lord; don’t trust in a lie.
Just two summers ago (July, 2008), Newsweek magazine printed a story about the most amazing exploit of tight-rope walker, Philippe Petit. They titled the story Man on Wire¸ and it described Petit’s secret plan in 1974 to extend a steel wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York. At the time, the towers were still under construction.
After much planning and practice, the day arrived. Petit and his fellow conspirators snuck to the top of the buildings, shot a wire across the vast, quarter-mile-high canyon that separated the North and South Towers, and Petit went to work. When all was said and done, Petit was on the wire for 45 minutes. Thousands gathered below to watch him. On each end of the wire, police waited for him to finish. Petit made eight passes before finally coming in. To this day he insists the stunt wasn’t for publicity or even to see if he could do it. “The path is as important as the result,” he told a Newsweek magazine reporter.
Petit now lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains. A wire stretches across his yard, and he still practices several hours a day. Petit told the same Newsweek reporter that it “never occurred to him to use a safety net” when walking the wire. Then he added something that really struck me funny. He said, “I never fall. But yes, I have landed on the earth many, many times.” (Jennie Yabroff, “He Had New York at His Feet,” Newsweek magazine, 7-28-08, pp. 50-51; www.PreachingToday.com)
I laughed at that, but then I thought, “How descriptive of my life in Jesus Christ.” There are many, many times I find myself in trouble; but even in those times, I never really fall so as to ultimately hurt myself. It’s the experience of every believer in Jesus Christ. We are not immune from trouble, but God is right there to “keep our feet from striking against a stone,” to use the language of Psalm 91 (vs.12). “I never fall, but I have landed on the earth many, many times.”
So what do we do, as believers, when we “have landed on the earth,” so to speak? How do we handle it when we find ourselves in trouble? What should be our response when difficult times come?
Genesis 26:1 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the earlier famine of Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. (NIV)
Isaac did exactly what his father, Abraham, had done 80 or 90 years previously. During a time of drought and famine, he went to Gerar on his way to Egypt in search of greener pastures, but God met him along the way!
Genesis 26:2-5 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.” (NIV)