My daughter-in-law saw it first. It was a rather large gator swimming in our backyard pond. We enjoyed watching it and taking pictures as it swam lazily around the pond. However when it was spotted sunning itself in our backyard, something had to be done for the sake of our two curious pugs. The official gator removal guys came and lured the gator to the shore, pulled him out of the pond, taped his jaws shut and secured the 7ft. 7in. gator for removal. When it was safe I ran my hand over his back and noticed how rough and rugged the hide of that gator truly was. That rough hide is essential for the survival of the alligator.
Too many of God’s people have such a soft and sensitive hide when it comes to their spiritual lives. They are easily sidetracked and discouraged by the difficulties of life. They get offended and hurt by others. It doesn’t take much to cause them to fall into sin, and they lack that determined spirit that keeps them faithful to the Lord. The apostle Paul had a rugged faith. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28: “…in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches”.
All of us could use a hide that is a little more like an alligator and less like a kitty cat. We need to have the kind of faith that will not fail through difficult trials, flaming temptations, and even the careless words of fellow believers. How rugged is your faith?
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation