From an Obsessive Optimist in the Eye of A Hurricane.

life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Grizzly Bear Faith and YOUR $300.00 Dollar Part

What do you believe in?  Someone asked me that question and I said I believe in God, in love and in prayer.  This person asked if I believe in grizzly bears.  I have seen pictures of grizzly bears, some jumping on a trampoline, one trying to drive a car!  I have never personally encountered a grizzly bear, but I believe I believe in them.  This person asked if I were walking in a park in Alaska and a grizzly bear started chasing me, would I believe in grizzly bears.  If a grizzly bear was chasing me, I WOULD BELIEVE IN GRIZZLY BEARS.  This person stated, if you believed in God, in love and in prayer with the same conviction that you would believe in the grizzly bear chasing you;  your life would be completely different and there would be NO UNANSWERED PRAYERS in your life.

Jesus said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith that is, your lack of firmly relying trust.  For truly I say to you, if you have faith that is living,  like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matt. 17:20-21

What does Grizzly Bear Faith look like?  Paul said in Romans 4:18-25, ” We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

 Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.”

As Abraham is called the “Father of Faith”, we sometimes mistakenly think that is because of his “righteousness”.  I am going to relate a story about faith and as I relate the story I ask you to really meditate on the scripture above.  I would really like your opinion on this idea of Grizzly Bear Faith!

In 2003 my mother died of pancreatic cancer, and 2 weeks before my mother died our 8 year old Lllaso Apso died of female problems.  I am not equating the loss of my mother with the loss of our dog, but I want to give you the context of loss when this story occurred. 

We had returned to Texas from my mother’s funeral and we had been back about a week.  My husband had a short-term contract at an independent grocery chain to assist with a festival.  He had been unemployed for 4 months.  My husband’s lack of full-time employment was another loss we were dealing with at this time. 

In the parking lot of the grocery store my husband was working in, a man had pulled into the parking lot and in the back-end of his pick up truck he had 10 very large 6 week old puppies he was giving away.  My nine-year old daughter crawls right up into the bed of the pickup and begins petting all of the puppies. We MUST have one, they are free.  By the time her dad is free to make the monumental and forgone decision to allow her to have one of these free puppies, only two are left.  My daughter chooses the one in her lap, a black sturdy boy with mastiff markings on his face, similar to a Rottweiler.

My daughter names him Santiago.  He is almost too big for her to carry, at 6 weeks.  I knew he would grow to be a very big dog and it would be necessary for him to be well trained.  I began training him immediately and by 10 weeks he was completely house broken, could sit, lie and shake hands.  His mother was a Catahoula Leopard Dog/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, especially bred for hunting.  She had gotten out and had these accidental puppies.  Santiago, although a mongrel, was very smart.

Santiago at 10 weeks became very sick.  He threw up all day, and had an accident, which caused him great distress.  After one day of this, I told my husband that he needed to see the vet.  I could see he was getting weaker hour by hour.  My husband, who did not have a job, gave me $300.00 he had been saving for an emergency.  $300.00 seemed a lot of money to me, but if you have ever taken a sick dog to the vet, you already know – this was not enough money.

My daughter, Santiago and I went to the vet as soon as the office was open the next morning.  By this time Santiago could barely sit up.  The vet comes in to see him and Santiago staggers into a sitting position and offers the vet his paw to shake.  The vet looks Santiago over and tells us that he has parvovirus and hookworms and that at most he has a 40% chance of survival.  My daughter begin to wail. 

The veterinarian says he will require $1500.00 up front and it could cost as much as $2500.00.  My daughter begins to bawl harder.  My daughter was there when her dad gave me the $300.00 emergency money and when he told me that was all I could spend on Santiago.  I am speechless.  Santiago is still shakily trying to shake paws with the vet.  Recovering my voice, I tell the vet about the $300.00 emergency money, that my husband is unemployed, that my daughter lost her grandmother and her dog in the last month.  I played all of my cards.   The vet said he had to check on something and he would be back.  He was gone for what seemed to me a very long time.  My daughter continued to weep, Santiago was now offering his paw to me and I was praying hard.

The vet comes back into the office and ask me, “How hard are you willing to work?”  I am still speechless.  He then says that he will keep Santiago overnight and hydrate him with an IV.  I would need to pick him up the next morning.  The vet will give me all the medications and the schedule.  It will cost me $300.00.  Even if we left him at the vet and he was given the medications by the vet, the vet gave him less than a 50% chance, so there are no guarantees. 

The next morning I picked Santiago up, all the medications and a schedule for the medications, for giving water and food.  It was very involved and required me to do something for Santiago every two hours for two weeks.  The vets office called me once a day.  I kept the schedule, gave the medications, fed him water with an eye dropper, prayed over him and anointed him with oil. 

When we took Santiago to the vet at 12 weeks for his puppy shots, the vet burst into tears.  He said. “I never expected to see this dog again, alive.  

Grizzly Bear Faith requires a $300.00 part.  This $300.00 part will not be enough to accomplish anything and you will know it, but it will be the thing you can do and it will cost you.  Abraham had a $300.00 part.  It says in Hebrews 11:8-10, By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God. 

Leaving Ur, and his blood relatives was Abraham’s $300.00 part, not enough to accomplish the promise and it cost him.  In Math 17:21, Jesus again mentions the $300.00 part, prayer and fasting.  Not enough to accomplish the feat of casting out the demon, apart from God, but a cost to the disciples.

Do you have unanswered prayer in your life?  What is your $300.00 part?  I believe this is what James is talking about in chapter 3:18, “Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”