Faith Doesn't Need a Safety Net: The Danger of the Backup Plan

November 2nd, 2017

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I had questions about what had happened, but I didn’t take time to ask God about it. Like most Christians who encounter disappointment, I did nothing but accept failure as a puzzle I would figure out later, instead of seeking God about it right then.

One of the most important lessons God taught me concerning how faith works happened way back in 1993.

Two full years before, I had been talking to some local police officers, when they shared with me about how many deer were typically hit on the roads every year. I asked them what happens to the deer that are hit and killed, and they told me about “The List.” It was a list of people they would call to come and tag the deer. Apparently, in Ohio, there were special tags for deer that were hit on the road.

That would be a great way to get some extra venison, I thought.

I wanted on that list.

So, I got on the list. And, before deer season ever began that year, I had already butchered five deer. My freezer was full of venison.

We were stocked up, so when the season started, I wasn’t really that excited to go hunting. In fact, I went into the season without even praying or asking God for my deer. And I didn’t sow any seed, either.

But I still went out on opening day and every day of the weeklong season.

Apparently, I hadn’t learned that it was a waste of time to go out without releasing faith. I look back and realize how hardheaded I was. I got up every morning that week, went to the effort of hunting, and got exactly what I had released my faith for—nothing.

Pay close attention to my mind-set at that time—I knew something was wrong, but since my freezer was already full, I wasn’t that concerned about it. But I still wanted to have the victory of getting a deer myself. I should’ve prayed and asked God about it, but I didn’t.

Jump ahead to the 1992 season. I was confused about what had happened the year before, but I still didn’t bother to pray and ask God about what had happened. Since I hadn’t received any calls yet about road-kill deer before the season started, I sowed my seed and prayed about getting some venison.

After multiple attempts at getting a deer that season, and some missed shots, I knew something was really wrong. God had taught me so much about faith through hunting just a few years before. What was the problem?

I had questions about what had happened, but I didn’t take time to ask God about it. Like most Christians who encounter disappointment, I did nothing but accept failure as a puzzle I would figure out later, instead of seeking God about it right then.

I was fighting discouragement when the phone rang. It was the police department, and they had a deer that had been hit just 100 yards down the road from my driveway. I glanced out the window and could see the flashing lights outside. When they asked me if I wanted the deer, I eagerly agreed to take it. It ended up being a plump button buck, and the meat was in perfect condition. While I was bringing the deer back to the house, I realized God had in fact blessed me with the deer Drenda and I had asked Him for, but it didn’t come in the way I believed it would—or did it?

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1993 season that I truly sought God about the previous two seasons and what had happened. In prayer, He clearly said, The police list.

What?

The Lord clearly showed me how being on the list had affected my faith and divided my focus.

The list was a backup plan.

I knew that if my faith in God didn’t come through with a deer, I could always get one from the police department.

I had divided faith—two completely different visions of how to get my need met. I believed in my own method (the road-kill list), and yet I wanted to trust God to bring my deer through hunting.

I was wavering in where I placed my trust, and I ended up receiving those two years from where I had the most confidence—the list. My faith had operated, but not how I had wanted it to.

The Bible says a man who is double-minded should expect to receive nothing from the Lord. A good illustration of this principle is the person who asks God to meet a need and believes to pay cash for it, yet knows all along that if God doesn’t come through, he’ll just use a credit card to get the need met.

If you have a backup plan, you’re not walking in faith. Faith doesn’t need a safety net. And you’ll always find that your alternative plan is really the one you’re trusting.

As humans, we like to have everything in place so we feel secure. But God wants us to realize that there is no place more secure than resting in faith.


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