Still Faith

| By Richard D. Martin | 

It was a splendid summer day in Florida. Dad treated me and my big sister to a day at the local park. Whether it was chasing my sister around, drawing masterpieces in the sand, or being swung in circles by Dad, four-year-old Richie loved the park. Outside of the park visit, I don’t remember much about this particular day. I probably wouldn’t remember the park if someone would have had their dog on a leash.

This exquisite day in the sun suddenly turns south. Sweet is now sour. Up is now down. Right is oh so wrong. A massive dog is on a singular mission: Get the kid. Gripped by a sudden rush of fear and uncertainty, I scream out to Dad. I can still hear his voice echo, “Richard, don’t move!”

Stomach turning, tears falling, and knees trembling, I stand…courageously…unmoved…for all of…two seconds. I was fine while looking at Dad. But, when I turned my eyes toward the dog, all trust was evicted. With as much strength as my little limbs could muster, I crescendoed toward Dad.

In his arms I feel protected.

After the owner arrives, he apologizes profusely, assuring us that his dog is innocent (really?), energetic (go figure!), and simply loves kids (good bye). Dad assures the owner that all is well and that I was just a little caught off guard.

Before resuming our park activities, Dad bent over and asked me a question. “Son, why did you run when Daddy said don’t move?” Limited in vocabulary and relatively confused by his seeming ignorance of the obvious, I tearfully enunciated my case. “Da…sniff sniff…da…sob sob…da dog was chasin’ me…”

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Then, he asked a second question. “If I said don’t move, then do you think I was going to let the dog get to you before I did?” “Sniff sniff….sob sob,” I replied.

What do you do when you’re in between the dog and Dad?

A long list of dogs could be made, but we’ve only one Dad. At times, life pits us right between that which threatens to harm and He who has promised to protect. This is at one and the same time the reality and conundrum of our existence. While we love and appreciate Dad, sometimes His directives don’t make sense to us.

Be still…? Don’t move…? Wait…? Stay there…? Just trust…? Depending on the day and depending on the dog, these can all seem contraindicative and counterintuitive. The circumstances, in our minds, demand flight. But the situation, in His eyes, demands faith.

When I made it to Dad, I thought I’d outrun the dog. I didn’t know Dad had immediately headed my way. What I thought was my swiftness was really his speed. I did not reach him with my legs. He reached me with his arms.

I’ve learned and am learning a simple lesson: When God says move, don’t wait. When God says wait, don’t move. When faith demands stillness, the secret of solidarity is focusing on your Dad. Instead of moving based on your perspective, be still and trust His Word.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

-Pastor Martin


Pastor Richard D. Martin is the Assistant Pastor of Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ashton, Maryland. He has been blessed with a passion for the Word of God and for God’s people. Richard enjoys thought-provoking conversations, well-written books, spirited sporting events, and delectable cuisine. He considers Bermuda his favorite destination to visit and his second home.