“But it’s different when it’s your pig under the fence!”

Words spoken by an old farmer to a young preacher during a discussion of applying the Bible to everyday living. The old farmer was also a church leader who had been led astray by more than a generation bad teaching. Then feeling the pinch of disobedient decisions, he was demonstrating his emotional response to heartbreaking personal, family situations. Instead of following the teaching of God’s Word, he thought himself and his “unique” circumstances an exception to God’s norm.

The farmer is not alone in this perception and practice. Real faith is demonstrated “when the rubber meets the road.” In other words, it is not only important to learn and know what to do, is also another important thing to put it into practice. As a Christian, I must learn what God requires and then by his grace, I must do it.

Have you noticed it always seems relatively easy to know where others are either ignorant of God’s will or where they fall short of following it? I must confess, I am often blind regarding myself. I think that I recall Jesus saying something about having my own vision obstructed by something in my eye. (I pray that this blog is not the log.) Hmm…

One of the most well-known passages Scripture is Psalm 23. The very first verse declares: the Lord is my shepherd… Among other things, God is teaching that he is the one who watches over me, protects me and provides for all of my needs. He has everything under control. Another favorite Scripture indicates that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. This seems easy and straightforward; it is not difficult to understand. It is also very comforting. The Lord is my shepherd – he has everything under control. I shall not want…

However, when the morning aid, upon whom we are relying to care for me while Judy, plunges into a long list of heavy demands and unusual, urgent requirements, does not show up (because of presumably irresponsible decisions and actions), God’s providential care is exceedingly difficult to recognize and even more difficult to appreciate – let alone to put into practice!

I need to recognize the truth – the Lord is my shepherd. And then I must learn to rest in Him! This is one reason I read the Bible every day – I need to learn or relearn/be reminded of God’s truth so that I am able to put into practice. I think one reason God lets us wrestle with these kind of difficulties is to point out the great disconnect between what I say I believe and what I practice. Like I said, good theology is easier to say than to do.

As much as I hate to admit it, it is still very difficult for me to trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding. But when I trust in the truth that God is shepherding me, he provides surprising and impressing benefits. So take this morning, for instance, an unexpected change in weather conditions resulted in a change of plans which eased the then immediate urgency. Help from family members sharing responsibilities provided further assistance. The Lord provided extra grace and strength to meet all the demands of the difficult situation.

Now, on to the next one… I’ll have another chance to learn that the Lord really is my shepherd. Even though my pig is under the fence God is teaching me to trust in God’s truth.

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