Friday, January 9, 2004
My friend Rich has just come through a major battle with cancer with heavy radiation therapy which has helped him win. The only problem is that the radiation left Rich pretty weak and depleted. So, he would work a short week at his business and then he'd retreat to this little cabin he and his wife have way back in the woods. One day Rich was down by the stream, and he was feeling pretty tired. So, he lay down right there by the water and fell asleep. When he woke up, he was startled by what he saw. There above him, a vulture was circling him! Now, you wouldn't believe how quickly Rich got up! I can just imagine him telling that hopeful vulture, "Hey, bird, I may look dead to you, but I'm still alive!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Defying the Vultures."
You may be in a situation where you're pretty battered right now - physically, emotionally, spiritually, maybe financially, romantically. You're tired, depleted, maybe it looks like you're without hope, sort of like you're dead. Maybe you've even got some vultures circling you, telling you it's over. It's time to defy the vultures!
When Abraham was told by God as an old man that he would be the father of many nations, beginning with the son God would send, well, that looked impossible! Both he and his wife were way beyond child-conceiving, or child-bearing years. And there were many years actually where nothing happened between the promise and the birth of that son. But even though it appeared from all human logic and circumstance that the possibility of a son was dead, Abraham just kept on defying those vultures of unbelief.
Our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 4, beginning with verse 18, says, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah's womb was also dead. "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised."
Things looked like they were dead, but Abraham refused to believe what things looked like! He chose again and again to exercise stubborn faith in the promises of God. I call this defiant faith - the kind that defies the vultures of unbelief, pessimism, and giving up or quitting. In Jesus Christ, there is no such thing as "hopeless" or "impossible" or "too late."
So right now God may be calling you to stand up and defy those vultures - to fight back against the despair and that tendency to withdraw, or to give up, or to run away, or to accept the verdict of your circumstances. Don't succumb to the difficult environment or situation you're in. Capture your environment, make a difference there, focus on what you can do, not what you can't do. And be fully alive until Jesus decides it's over.
Like the victory of the Apostle Paul who said, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
You may look dead, hope may look dead, but it's time you stood to your feet and you said loud and clear, "I may look dead to you but, because of the God I have, I am very much alive!"