Saturday, October 6, 2007

Running on empty

Running on empty
By John Fischer

Our second child was born prematurely, away from home. As you can imagine, it was a major crisis situation. There was much to do: find a temporary place to live, restructure our calendars, look after the needs of our one year-old in a new environment with all the attention going to his new baby sister, and be big enough to take on everybody’s emotions.

I could say I rose to the occasion but what I would really mean is my faith rose to the occasion. For the five weeks surrounding the time we waited for our new daughter until she could survive outside an incubator, I was on a spiritual high. In heightened emotional situations, I always find my faith more palpable. I not only believe God, I run on faith. Makes me think of Jackson Brown’s song “Running On Empty” because that’s what it feels like. I’m empty, but I’m still running, because I’m on faith alone. There’s no doubt about it. It can be exhilarating.

Then something happens when life returns to “normal” (which isn’t really normal, it’s just that the immediate pressure is off), it becomes harder to actually run on faith because I have so many other support systems I’m used to running on—things other than the Lord. It’s too easy to fall back on old ways of coping. In other words, it’s harder for me to live by faith when things are going well than when I am in crisis.

But here’s what I think the truth is: what I might call “normal” is an illusion. Life is in just as much of a crisis when I’m not feeling it as when I am. In fact, it is probably worse because my guard is down; I’m not on the lookout. I’m taking my ease.

Don’t be lulled to sleep by the “normal.” “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 LNT).

If we could really see the truth, we would see that we are empty all the time. In a spiritual way, we are perpetually in need of the Spirit in order to do the simplest of things. Be careful not to let your guard down.

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