Verse: Ezra 8:21-34
Lisa realized she needed to depend on God when she discovered she was pregnant. She was excited and happy—but the timing wasn’t perfect. Her husband had two years until he finished his degree. She was supporting both of them by working two jobs. Whenever she thought about the future, she broke out in a cold sweat. How would they make the rent? Would she have to quit one of her jobs? Would her husband have to quit school? She decided that the best course was to pray for God to show them the way.
Ezra sets a great example for anyone facing an unknown future. Before he and a group of returning exiles began their 900-mile trek back to Jerusalem, they all fasted and prayed for a safe journey—literally, a “straight way.” They prayed for God’s favor and protection and trusted “God’s gracious hand” would guide them.
God is also with you to guide you, regardless of your circumstances. Perhaps you’re venturing out, depending on God for the first time. Take a step of faith and follow where he leads. He will surely guide you to the next step . . . and the next. You’ll discover that faith will lead you where reason may not.
Faith and reason have been compared to two travelers. Think of Faith as a woman who can walk 20 or 30 miles at a time without flagging, while Reason is a child who can only muster the strength to go two or three miles. One day Reason said to Faith, “Oh, Faith, let me walk with you.” But Faith replied, “Oh, Reason, you can never walk with me!” Nevertheless, they set out together. When they came to a deep river, Reason said, “I can never ford this,” but Faith waded through it, singing. When they reached a high mountain, Reason despaired. But Faith carried Reason on her back. The writer of this old tale said, “Oh, how dependent upon Faith is Reason!”
Why has God made faith the indispensable ingredient in our journey of faith? Perhaps so that we will become totally dependent upon him. Reason tells us to stay put. Faith calls us to step out, reassuring us that “no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37).
I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
1. How have you found that your reason some times interferes with your faith?
2. What makes it difficult for you to depend on God?
3. How can prioritizing prayer in your life make a difference in preparing you for your faith journey?