29 July 2020
Series: Devotional
Topic: Camping
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The camping trip

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

In Hebrews 11:6, we read, “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

In Exodus, 20:2-3, we read, “I am the Yehovah thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

In Mark, 12:29, we read, “Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! Yehovah is our God; He is the one and only God, He is one .”

I can still remember the first time I decided to go camping. I had packed my tent, supplies for a week, and decided where to put my tent. I had picked the place about a mile from the nearest road, serene, quiet surrounded by beautiful mountains and scenery. In my mind, I was expecting it to be rather easy to erect the tent, and the weather report promised me warm sunny skies for the entire week.

After having parked my car and walked for about a mile, I found a perfect spot. When I started looking around, one of the first things that caught my attention was rocks. There seemed to be rocks embedded in the ground everywhere. So after doing some digging for about an hour or so, I was able to clear a large enough area to erect my tent.

I had never actually set up a tent before, but it looked easy to do on tv. It took me about two hours to figure out how to erect it and securely fasten it to the ground with pegs. The next morning when I woke up, the first thing I noticed was rain. It seemed as if the skies had opened up over my tent and had decided to empty everything they had at once. I was cold, wet, and hungry, and then it suddenly dawned on me, I had to go to the bathroom outside in the rain and wind.

The vast gap between expectations and reality can sometimes be challenging to bridge for all of us. When we are young, and about to move out on our own, we expect how it will be. We see ourselves as well able to live independently on our own, but when reality strikes, and we understand life has its hidden rocks, the gap widens. How do you bridge that gap between expectation and reality?

The Bible says, in Hebr 11:6 and James 1:6, by faith.

When I woke up that day in my tent, cold, wet, hungry having to go outside in the storm to use the bathroom, my reality did not match my expectations. I had two choices; I could choose not to bridge the gap, or I could choose to bridge the gap. I decided to adjust my expectations to my reality and, by doing so, bridge the gap. Even though I was still wet, still cold, and hungry, I started enjoying myself. The rain’s sound hitting the tent felt comforting; the smell of the damp grass and the wind rustling the tent began to feel like home. Instead of packing up and driving home, I stayed for another night, and the next day everything changed. The next day, the sun came out, and the temperature rose, and suddenly my reality had adapted to my expectations.

If we are willing to use faith, faith will bridge the gap between expectations and reality.

In Hebr 11, the Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.

When I was in my tent, I had hoped for warm sunny skies and absolutely no insects. I had hoped for an area on the ground without any rocks, and for an easy assembly of the tent. I got the complete opposite, but because I used faith, everything changed for the better.

We Christians tend to believe that if we have strong enough faith, we can change our circumstances. So if we are caught in bad weather in a storm, we can change the weather if we believe hard enough. But this is not how the Bible describes faith.

When I was caught in the tent in the storm, I did not try to change the weather by faith. I did not give up, pack all my things, and drive home. Instead, I accepted my situation and tried to make the best of it. By making that choice, I told Yehovah I trusted Him to care for me in the storm and that He had, for some reason, allowed this to happen to me.

The first thing that changed was how I perceived my circumstances. Instead of being cold, wet, and hungry, I started enjoying being cold, wet, and hungry. Because I started enjoying myself, I felt motivated to cook dinner in the rain. After having eaten in the rain, the wind and the tent felt like home, and I enjoyed being outside in the storm camping.

This is the faith the Bible says we are supposed to have when we trust that no matter what we are going through, Yehovah has allowed it to happen, and if He has allowed it to happen, we have no reason to worry about anything.

This is the type of faith that bridges the gap between our expectations and reality, and the kind of faith that, in the end, adapts our reality to our expectations. Even though I first had to adjust my expectations to my reality, my faith in Yehovah ended up changing my reality to my expectations, so the next day I got what I wanted.

Being on a camping trip, having to live through a storm, rain and wind are quite different from going through the loss of a loved one, financial chaos, and life-threatening disease.

Having lived 42 years on this earth, I have lived through the loss of loved ones, financial chaos, and life-threatening diseases. From experience, I know that this type of faith works regardless of what you are going through.

If we trust Yehovah, we trust that He has allowed our circumstances even though they might be very unpleasant. If He has allowed it or wanted it to happen to us, He will see us through it and deliver us because He is in control. If we believe He is in control, we have to show we believe by not complaining. If we give in to the temptation to complain, we are giving into sin.

How can it be a sin to complain and be depressed if you have cancer or have just lost a loved one?

In the book of Exodus, Yehovah has just saved our forefathers from Egypt. They did nothing to deserve their salvation, but they saw miracles and proves of Yehovah’s power and existence; most of us can only dream of seeing in a lifetime. They heard Him at Mount Sinai promising to care for them if they promised to love Him by obeying His Torah. (John 14:15)

Even so, when they had nothing to eat or to drink, they complained and despaired. When the Egyptian army almost caught up to them, they complained and gave into fear. When they lost loved ones, they got depressed and accused God of being unfair. By complaining and falling into depression, they tested Yehovah and never got to see the promised land. (Deut 6:16)

What should they have done?

They should have trusted Yehovah and shown their trust for Him by adapting their expectations to their reality. If they had, then He would have changed their reality to their expectations.

I did this in the tent, which is what I have done in every situation I have been in. By adapting my expectations to my reality, Yehovah has adapted my reality to my expectations.

So let me ask you this, do you trust Yehovah, and do you have faith to bridge the gap between expectation and reality?

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