Facts Versus Truth

July 26, 2010

I seldom read fiction, but when I do, I always learn something. Sometimes what I learn isn’t very profound. At least I usually increase my vocabulary by a word or two. But in a historical fiction novel I read recently, I discovered a lesson I will never forget. So I thought I’d share it with you.

In a dream, an Old Testament character was telling the main character about the difference between facts and truth. He explained that it depends on whether you choose to believe the facts, or seek the truth. I don’t remember the exact lessons he used and since it was a borrowed book and I don’t have it before me, I’ll improvise.

For example, follow the Israelites out of Egypt. Running scared with Pharaoh’s army hot on their trail, they round the bend and come to a screeching halt at the shore of the Red Sea. Oops… now what?! The facts were looking pretty grim. Fact: We’re trapped! Fact: We’re defenseless! Fact: There is no way out of this, and we haven’t had many swimming lessons!

But the truth was that God had a plan. He had it all along, and He wasn’t the least bit worried, frustrated or surprised by the rapidly approaching Egyptian horde. The truth was something the Israelites couldn’t see yet.

Here’s another example. What if you’d been Sarah, childless since you married as a teenager. Now you’re way past menopause age, and some stranger promises you’re going to have a baby? No wonder she laughed! The facts didn’t add up. But the truth was part of a promise, and the One who’d made it was as good as His Word. When she was 90, Sarah had that promised boy, and maybe as a celebration of God’s sense of humor, they named him “Laughter.”

Some of my favorite books in the Bible are 1 and 2 Kings. I love standing with Elijah and watching God defeat the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Talk about facts flying in the face of truth! There had been a drought for years, and King Ahab blamed Elijah for it (read 1 Kings 17-18). God was punishing Israel for their idolatry under the leadership of wicked King Ahab. But Elijah sent Ahab a message and challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest. Get these odds: 450 to 1. Elijah was God’s only representative.

What would you have thought if you’d been in the crowd? Here are the facts. Baal’s group far outnumbered God’s faithful. Even the king was on Baal’s side. Baal’s priests got to go first. They were loud and persistent.

But Elijah wasn’t worried. After hours of their desperate dancing and frantic begging, they finally exhausted themselves. The prophet patiently rebuilt the altar his adversaries had desecrated. Then he even poured water all over the sacrifice and the altar, soaking the thing three times! As if the odds weren’t stacked against him already…

Elijah didn’t worry about the facts. He had somebody far more powerful than the king on his side. He had truth. Actually, he had the Author of Truth. Baal’s crowd had no clue what they were up against. When God got done, His fire had licked up the bull, the wood, the stone altar and even the dust around it.

Truth always wins out over facts. But sometimes it takes a while for us to see it. That’s what I’m learning. In situations when I have the opportunity to worry, become anxious, get angry or frustrated or get my feelings hurt, I am trying to stop and consider. What are the facts in this situation? But what is the truth? Will I stop to ask the Author of Truth to show me what that is? Will I choose to believe Him when He does?

Don’t settle for the facts. Go for the Truth.


10 Responses to “Facts Versus Truth”

  1. Elda Says:

    This is so good, Jenny. It seems the battle
    gets more sophisticated daily. Meanwhile our
    weaponry is reduced to simple ‘truth.’
    Keep reminding us that God will fight our battles
    for us.

    • You’re so right, Elda. Our battle is the same in every generation. The enemy changes his uniform, but not his tactics. And our Captain is the same yesterday, today and forever: faithful, powerful, victorious!

  2. Phyllis Kelley Says:

    Good morning,

    I choose truth!!

    Your comment about the “opportunity to worry, become anxious…” reminded me of a quote by Beth Moore. Beth said in one of her studies that we were not saved from our sins to live the rest of our lives in defeat!

    I love reading your blogs. Keep them coming!

    Love, Phyllis

    • I once heard a good definition of worry: “negative meditation.” We have choices about where to focus. Sometimes I just put my will in neutral and coast right into worry, fretting, worrying… Jesus said, “LET not your heart be troubled…” That “let” is imperative; it’s a command. It takes an act of the will not to worry! I’m still in process on that one.

  3. Peg Stegall Says:

    My search for truth vs facts… Is this country doomed by its poor choices, or is there a plan in the works leading to a greater purpose? I believe the “truth” is in the plan.

  4. Faith is seeing the facts and realizing God’s truth. It reminds me of the man who cried, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” I have to say that often too.

    • I’m trying to remember to stop and check the truth when I tend to react emotionally first. It’s a hard habit to break, but God isn’t finished with me yet…!

  5. paulmerrill Says:

    Good reminder for my morning!

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