By Zachary Gately, MPH - zgately.com
This Friday evening, it was my turn to do vespers. Since I talk about a quite comical experience that happened this week, I though you might enjoy the story as well as the message.
We all need confidence. A healthy dose of self confidence is needed in the work place, in school, art, and relationships. Confidence is a bit like having trust in yourself. You know you can accomplish x, y, and z without problems. It may not be easy but you have trained, practiced, or bs-ed your way far enough to know the hang of it.
Yesterday, I had my confidence shattered. After trouble with one moto, Daniel, Josh, and I set out for the river on the other. We missed the first turn, and me not knowing the little roads all over decided to try to go to the river the same way I had previously returned. We hit some sand but it wasn’t too much of an issue: the extra weight and flat tires aided in our still vertical state so we just kept put-putting along. Out of nowhere cows started running along the road. No problem. They weren’t attached to anything and moved out of the way. Sighs of relief came out but were quickly caught as more cows attached to a trailer were headed for us. We edged over to the right but we hit sand, ran into the bushes, finally hitting a dense woody bush. Locals are laughing at us as we are trying to bend things that shouldn’t be bent back into place. We think to call Jamie with the truck but don’t want to bother his work. Maybe we can push it but with that Desert African sun beating down mid afternoon, it seems like unnecessary exercise. I decide to see if I can start it even though the starter can’t rotate the full circle to start. Imagine trying to start a lawn mower with only half of the pull cord. It goes!
We are determined to make it to the river. We pile back on and head off. No sign of cows but its pretty sandy. The moto seems a bit loose all over and keeping it balanced required more upper body strength than expected. We’re going, we’re going, and Daniel gets excited. “No problem, we got this!”
No wood to knock on, of course.
Bam! Next thing I know, I’m on my left side in the grass with Daniel’s leg sticking up by my head. I have no idea where Josh ended up but I told them to just leave me on the ground for a moment. Confidence completely shattered. We decide to walk the sandy part. Once the ground hardens, Daniel gets on so I can take him to the river and come back to get Josh. We seem to be headed in the right direction when we see a un passable puddle I put my foot on the brake only to realize there is no foot brake! We coast off to the side and I quickly shift down enough to use my feet to break. We surmise that it must have come off in the bush we ran into the first time, and causing the fall. We take the next turn and finally that cool breeze from a large body of water hits us and we come upon a sweet cliff to jump off. I head off to get Josh and in no time (comparatively to the rest of the journey to the river) we are back jumping off into the river. We float down, climb a tree, jump, and repeat a few times.
On the way back there were no accidents but without a brake and it still being sandy, we alternated riding and walking. I offered many times for them to ride and I would walk but after seeing me go down, the didn’t even want to try in the sand.
I was bone tired when we arrived back to the compound. I just sat as my bruises reminding me of the day. I though I could do it but I guess I haven’t practiced enough to match my confidence. But in time, I will have no problem riding in sand. I have all the sand I need to practice.
The question is, what was I putting my confidence in? My skills? My abilities? The quality of moto? The hardness of the ground?
I often think of the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” I prayed this prayer and claimed this promise many a late night study session and before a race. But in reading a book about prayer, The Circle Maker, I now realize how shallow that prayer usually comes out. I know that if I had studied more three day before an exam rather than three hours, I could have done better on my own without extra strength from Christ. Not that He couldn’t miraculously open the pathways between my mind and my finger tips but if it is something that I can do, why would I waste my breath on asking God to do it? What if I instead used that same breath to ask God something that I cannot do on my own? The battle of Jericho, Elijah, and Peter walking on water are all great examples of assisting in times of great need that could not be accomplished without divine intervention.
It take confidence in ourselves to both work hard for something as well as pray for God to intervene. We then have to give Him the glory because there is no other way to explain the miracle. Attempting something you have never done or following a dream or going along with a mental prompting all take confidence, both in God and yourself.
In high school, I was told during a graduation speech 10 syllables that have changed how I proceed:
“If it is to be, it is up to me.”
At first, I thought it was selfish and cocky to use this but as I have grown (and matured a little, right?), I have realized that seriously, if it is to be, it is up to me. I have to be the one to reach out and make a connection with the famous author. I must train for that 10k if I want to place. And I must pray if I want God to help on the impossible.
It’s not an “I don’t need God” attitude. It’s a “If I think it should happen, I need to take action” attitude. We must go boldly before the throne of God. In the parable of the talents, the master want them to use their talents for increase, add in a bit of creativity, and have something to show. They all received something from the master and had to do something with it. He honored those who did something.
Sitting on our hands waiting for things happen won’t work with God. Pray hard and work hard. We must take the talents allotted for us and use them for Gods glory. We must have confidence that our God can do the impossible. We must have confidence that we can carry out His will for our lives. That much prayer with deepen your relationship with Christ and transform your life in a way that you can only praise God for!
Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life! (1 John 2:24, 25 MSG)