Back when Isaac was only two, he and I were living with my mom. One night, he and I were playing in the living room when he fell straight backwards and hit his head hard. At first he was crying, but then suddenly his face froze, he quit breathing and went unconscious. I was so stunned and scared that all I could think to do as I held my limp baby was to call for my mom. I heard her coming up the stairs already praying and went straight to the phone to call 911. All I kept doing was begging my baby boy to breathe and to wake up. While my mom was on the phone with 911 operator, he started breathing. By the time the paramedics arrived, he was conscious again. They checked him over and found him ok, explaining to me that this happens with some kids when they hold their breath with sudden shock or pain. Eventually, they pass out. The doctor, upon examining him, said the same thing. There were no signs of concussion or injury. God was faithful and my boy was fine.
But I wasn’t. Yes, there was good news. Everything worked out best case scenario. Everything that week went back to normal, but I felt like at that moment….a defining moment, I had failed my son. I felt like I couldn’t trust myself to take care of him. Y’all by that time, I had taken several CPR courses, a first aid course, even a wilderness first responders course, but I was so much in shock at looking at my lifeless-looking child, that I couldn’t think. I couldn’t even think to call 911. But what troubled me most, I couldn’t even think to pray for him at that moment. It troubled me for days until one day I told God, “I couldn’t even think to pray.” and the reply was immediate, “Yes, but you have prayed for him everyday all the way up to that point.” In other words, it wasn’t that one sudden, big , awful moment that defined me as a loving mother, but the many small uneventful moments that led up to then.
We often read the people of the Bible and focus on their one defining moment with this unrealistic romanticized notion, that was what showed their devotion, love, faithfulness to God and that one moment where God showed His power through them. Don’t misunderstand me. Yes, those attributes were clearly visible, but that one huge moment was possible because of the lives they led up to it. For example, Daniel, who had more than his fair share of big moments, led a life of constant prayer and faithfulness to God when no one was looking long before he was called to put it to the test before man and government. Stephen, was a table server, and a faithful disciple and leader, who grew in power and authority not because of a bunch of big moments but through humble service to widows who were under his charge. His one sermon packed a punch and no doubt the Holy Spirit gets the credit for it, but I would put money on the fact that he was well read in the Word, knowing God’s story. Yes, this moment was a powerful display of God’s power and authority and greatly impacted the new church, but it didn’t come about by a one and done moment. Both men led a life of consistent prayer, worship, and faithfulness to God and His word…those moments defined them and prepared them to the big ones.
So what exactly am I trying to get across to the reader? It’s this. We are made ready for big testings of our faith when we are being faithful before trials and troubles strike. Before we are called to action in service to the Lord. Before we do the big visible things, we remain steadily doing the small seemingly unimportant things not so easily on display. Being faithful and constant to God in prayer, His Word, in worship and fellowship with other believers, these moments are what define us and make us mighty men and women of God.
Back when I was just learning to read, one of my favorite stories and the only one I remember, was about these monkeys living in the jungle. When the days were sunny, they didn’t have a care in the world. They played. They swung from tree to tree never thinking about trouble. When it rained however, they would huddle together, cold and wet. Each time they would promise to each other, next sunny day, we will build a shelter. They would all be in agreement. “yes, they would say to each other, next sunny day.” But the sunny day would come out and they would forget about their promise and spend their day in pleasure. I don’t remember how the story ends, but I am pretty sure it was one that just kept going on the same cycle. The monkeys never learned their lesson.
But there is a lesson to learn from all this. Be prepared. Just like my story about Isaac, there are times in our lives where we are so shocked that we fumble at what we should do. Don’t wait for something to happen before you start doing what you need to do. Don’t be fooled by the sunny days in your world to neglect readying yourself and your family for the storms up ahead. You don’t have to be a preacher, prophet, or political analyst to know that this country, but especially the church is heading down a trying road. There will be defining moments for us up ahead as believers, but we will only be ready for those if we start now choosing and making a hard mind set to be Christ followers. By praying fervently and reading God’s word. Knowing what is says and storing it away in our hearts. By interceding for our children and spouses. By talking about these things with our families at night and around the dinner table. Let’s start defining who we are now so that we can be ready to meet the challenge when our faith may be put on display.