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I Can Do Nothing…

Welcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith.

By Erick Cleveland

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.17.50 AMI have always had a plan. You know, where I am going in life and how I am going to get there. I look back from where I am now and I can see the subtle and not-so-subtle signs God sent.

Let me take you back to show you what I mean. When I was in middle school I decided I was going to be a math teacher and from that day forward I had a plan to graduate high school, get my AA through running start and complete my math degree, all before turning 20. I also was very passionate about Christ and wanted to share the Gospel as often as I could. I had slipped up in my faith enough and I had made a new plan and promise that I would always walk with Him. But like I said I had a plan.

John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we look back at that time in my life I hope you notice the common theme that I do now, “the word”. I had so many plans and was so focused on them I forgot that I can do nothing without He who gives me strength and I was about to get several reminders of this.

The week I proclaimed a promise that I would be keeping my faith in God from this moment forward, a series of events struck. The first was an uncle who had been paramount in the development of my faith was diagnosed with Leukemia. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The second was a friend was run over by a garbage truck and killed and at his funeral the congregation assured those of us who were not members there that we were not saved by the grace of God. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The third happened on the way home from seeing my uncle in the hospital while sitting at a traffic light. In a moment there was a pile of cars in front of me and because I have been trained in the Boy Scouts, I responded. I can tell you that no training in the world would have changed the outcome that day. I went from sitting in my car holding a large pizza in my lap to breaking a car window in order to pull out a beautiful 2-year-old girl who was already with the Lord. In that moment I could only mutter the Lords prayer. I managed to repeat it over every victim, every responder, and even the man at fault. But when I stood over the mother and asked if I could pray for her, she said she did not believe in God. I assured everyone my faith was not shaken, but it was.

I spent nearly a year telling my friends and my family I was fine and that I had faith so nothing could affect me. Over that time there were plenty of signs, both big and small, of God whispering and screaming, “You can do nothing without Me”. The sign that finally made me to look up and stop looking at ‘I’ was when I was driving and saw the lights of an ambulance in front of me and my body froze. Frozen to the point I did not know we ran a red light through one of the busiest intersections in the city, only to be miraculously untouched. In that moment where my life and my friends were almost lost did I finally reach out for help.

I spent so much time making plans and talking about my faith, I forgot to live it. I forgot that my faith is not based on walking along side Jesus or even following Him, but instead letting him carry me. My plans take a lot less time these days, as they are more of a simple prayer:

Your will done in my life so that I may glorify you.

Since my new prayer and truly God centered life, God has not stoppedScreen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.10.26 AM bringing trials and asking me to do things outside my own plans. I was called to move away from my hometown with my wife and raise my children as a stay at home dad. God has given me the opportunity to raise two young boys to glorify him and made me a more understanding husband and father.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.13.52 AMGod’s lesson in my life has always been that I can do nothing, but in Philippians 4:13 we are reminded that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

 

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