I’ve been enjoying learning about the many special nuances that our new home state has to offer. Last night we watched a program on the local PBS channel called “Exploring North Carolina.” The particular subjects of this week’s show were “Fords and Mills.” During the program they first described the importance that fords, in the multitude of North Carolina rivers streams and creeks played in the early history of our state.
Going hand in glove with the fords was the use of the water to power the mills that used to dot the countryside. They described how at one point in the early 1800’s that there were over 70 mills in Wake County alone. Wake County is the large county 2 miles north of us and is the home of the State Capital in Raleigh and the Research Triangle which is anchored by 3 major Universities and the cities of Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham.
I particularly enjoyed learning how strategic the knowledge and use of the fords in the creeks and rivers of the state were to the early settlers as well as to the military leaders who led American armies throughout the countryside during the wars fought on US soil. A ford or crossing through a body of water is simply described as “a shallow place with good footing where a river or creek may be crossed by wading…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_(crossing)
The historical experts the program interviewed talked of the multitude of creeks, streams and rivers within North Carolina. It was stated that you could hardly travel a few miles without having to cross one! I also thought it interesting when it was described how different modes of transportation required different kinds of fords in order to successfully cross the stream. From foot traffic, to horses, to wagons, to moving heavy loads such as military armaments, the depth of the water, type of soil and many other factors had to be considered in order not to lose the load! Documents of the time detail how entire mule teams were swept down the river and lost in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s because the flow was too strong and the footing inadequate for the animals and their heavy loads.
Therefore you can see the importance of knowing where the right fords for their needs were located when locals traveled the area. They told the story of how a American Revolutionary War General used his knowledge of the creeks and their fords in our area of the State, to keep the water ways between his force of 300 men and a pursuing force of over 1000 British Regulars plus Hessian volunteers.
With all that interesting information concerning the importance of fords, I got me to thinking this morning about all the rivers, streams and creeks that we have to ford in our daily lives! As Christians we already have a knowledgeable expert who travels with us wherever we go. His name is the Holy Spirit and He is closer to us than our next breath! He is that little voice inside of us that sends out that little “feeling” that there may be trouble ahead. He is the One that intricately leads us through the road map of God’s Word when direction in life is required. He is the One who brings us to the correct ford in the stream that is hindering our progress and gives us safe passage through the potential hazard.
The Dean of the Bible College I attended made three striking comments during a recent sermon that really made me think of the pattern that Piper and I have chosen to follow throughout our life together… and then elicited a shout of “Hallelujah” from my lips! First of all he declared that “Faith is a lifestyle and not an event.” Romans 1:17 tells us that “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (MKJV)
For the Believer, faith should just be something we do! It should be our natural default. When we were faced with the results of Piper’s first tests back in 2007, we didn’t think twice but automatically grabbed each other’s hand and prayed for God’s directions… no matter what the circumstances, people or any other thing tried to present to us that might be different than Him and His Word of promise to us!
Secondly he stated that “There is something about faith that won’t take ‘NO’ for an answer.” That truth rang a loud bell in our experience as I have vivid memories of discussions with other folks who felt it their place to give us strong “advice” of which I could NOT follow as Piper and I had our focus on another source… God’s! To this day I can see the consternation on their faces and in their voices when I stood my ground. I am sure that they thought I was being naïve and/or just plain idiotic to not to follow their intellectual argument.
Then the final comment that brought it all home for me was the simple truth from Hebrews 11:6 where the writer of the letter states without reservation that “Faith pleases God!” What more can I say? I want to be pleasing to my Papa God… don’t you?
Today here in the USA we are celebrating Memorial Day. It is a time that we remember and give tribute to those brave men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country… in order that we might be able to enjoy the freedoms that this country stands for. Well, there is another that gave His life in order for us to live free from sin, sickness and the lies of the enemy of our souls. And you know… I want to honor Him and His selfless actions by living my life according to that which pleases Him. Once again I ask… “Don’t you as well?”
Piper and I plan to continue to live our lives in faith, in dependence on Him and the promises of His Word, agreeing with the Apostle Paul “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:5 KJV) So you see… it is actually kind of simple to find the right ford to cross the rivers, streams and creeks that rise up to block our paths in life… by staying in tune to the greatest Guide of all times!
Have a great holiday today, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose advice am I expecting to follow when I come across a river, stream or creek rising up in my life today?”