Summary: If you have ever reached a low point in your life where it seems like everything was coming against you, then you know about simple faith. It's the faith that remains when everything else has been stripped from you which enables you to take another step in God's promises.
The title of my message this morning is “Simple Faith.” As some of you are aware, I retired last Monday after thirty-two years in the pharmaceutical industry. This was preceded by eight years in the U. S. Air Force and five years working as a stockman in a department store. I had worked for forty-five years looking forward to the day when I could stop work and enjoy a time when I could do what I wanted when I wanted. That day arrived last Monday, May 10, 2021. I am approaching my one-week anniversary and the thing that I have come to realize is that living in retirement still requires faith. It took faith to get me to retirement and it will take faith to live in it – but not necessarily in the manner that you might be thinking.
In May of 1989 I had been out of the Air Force for a few weeks searching for a job in the pharmaceutical industry. Every company I applied for turned me down because I either did not have sale experience or I did not have pharmaceutical sales experience specifically. After being rejected so many times, I went through a phase of doubt, worrying, and extreme stress thinking that I would not be able to find a job in the industry that I wanted and thus be able to provide for my family. Those were some dark days for me. But one thing that helped me continue walking each day was my simple faith that I had in God that He would provide for me and my family – and when I say simple faith, I mean simple. I am not talking about the mountain moving faith that I should have had; I am talking about that simple faith that when you have been beaten down so low it’s all that’s left. The pride is gone. The self-worth is bottoming out. The stress is high. I am talking about the faith we have in God when all else is gone.
During those very dark days I listened to a song by Lionel Harris titled “His Grace is Greater.” This song spoke to me because Satan was telling me that I had messed up by getting out of the Air Force when I didn’t have to and now my family would suffer. This song encouraged me to the point that there were times when I would be driving down the road listening to it crying as it was my testimony at that particular moment in my life. Listen to the words of the song:
“His grace is greater than our failures, His peace runs deeper than our fears. If we go to Him for mercy, our hearts can rest assured, His love will keep us through our tears. He'll give us strength to simply trust Him, through times we may not understand. We will gain a sweet assurance,
no passing doubt can dim. Our lives are safely in His hands. Though countless souls, have come to Him so desperate and lost, with faith no greater than a tiny seed, each one has found a wondrous truth beneath His simple cross. His grace is greater than our need. No height or depth in all creation, can reach beyond His love for me and His power has raised my spirit, the work forever done. With grace, His power has raised my spirits, the work forever done. His grace is greater than my need.”
And I listened to the words of this song the Spirit of God would remind me of the grace of God. As I said, Satan was telling me that I should have stayed in the military. He told me that I was trying to enter a field where there were very few minorities at the time. He told me there was a reason that that I was being rejected and that I should give up and look for something else to provide for my family. And you know what I did? I started looking for something else even though in my heart I believed that I was supposed to be in the pharmaceutical sales industry. At that point my faith shifted from focusing on obtaining a pharmaceutical sales job to obtaining any job. Do you understand what I am telling you? The enemy of the soul can beat us down until we believe we are walking in faith when in reality what we have done is given up. At least that was the case with me. Following that decision, one week I interviewed for a position working for the state of Arkansas doing child mortality studies. The following week I had an interview with a pharmaceutical company. The state made me a job offer before the pharmaceutical company made its decision. When the person at the state office offered me the job, she apologized that the offer was so low and she couldn’t offer me more. With their offer in hand, I was forced to make a decision. Do I accept a confirmed job making less than I needed or wait and see how the interview with the pharmaceutical company turned out? Although my faith in getting a job in the pharmaceutical industry was shaken, I chose to finish that interview process and you know the rest of the story. What I want you to understand from this testimony is that no one is immune from reaching a point of giving up on something they believe God for. When we have been beaten down so low that we have to reach up to touch the bottom, it’s our simple faith in God that He will fulfill His promises which gives us the strength to take one more step.