"I am a cowardly Christian."
I had known this about myself for a long time, but that Tuesday evening on the front porch talking with a friend...that was the first time I had articulated the truth, spoken it out loud.
No, it's not that I'm afraid to talk to people about Jesus. Not even strangers. Working at Wal-Mart taught this shy, introverted woman at least one thing: I can initiate a conversation with just about anyone, if I set my mind to it!
No, I'm more afraid of what might come next, after an initial conversation about faith and grace and the gospel. It's one thing to share the gospel with someone you don't know. It's a totally different thing to then enter into an on-going relationship with that person. What if the dirty, stinky man on the corner starts coming to my church, and wants to sit next to me each week? What if the woman with a list of ex-lovers longer than my arm wants to talk to me about the messy relationship with her current boyfriend? What if the chain-smoking, tattooed mom wearing the spaghetti straps and short shorts brings her whole wild and woolly brood to Sunday school - am I going to have to ask them all over for lunch at my house after church?
That's what scares me. I'm afraid of what I might be getting into. I want to know ahead of time how this is all going to shake down, that I'm going to be "okay" with whatever comes next.
"I am afraid of what God may be asking me to do," I told my friend.
The Wednesday morning after our front porch conversation, I poured a cup of coffee and sat down to continue reading through the book of Luke. First thing that morning, fresh on the heels of my confession of cowardice, I read in Luke 10 about Jesus sending out the 72 disciples. Jesus told His disciples to "Go." He told them their work would be messy, that they would be like "lambs in the midst of wolves." He told them not to worry about the details of their journey: "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals..." He told them to live among the people they would be discipling, but He didn't give any guarantees these folks would be pleasant. He told them to GO, and proclaim the kingdom of God. Just GO.
Yeah, that kind of hit me like cold water in the face. It was like God met my fear head on: I know you're afraid, but that's not the point. The point is, I'm telling you to GO.
Then, just in case I hadn't gotten the message Wednesday morning, Deon preached from Isaiah 43 that evening. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine...(verse 1). This is not an easy chapter. God is rebuking Israel for their faithlessness and warning them of impending judgment. But, even in the midst of very severe discipline, God exhorts His people: Don't be afraid. You are mine.
That next Sunday morning, Brother Billy was out of town, and Deon filled in for him. Instead of continuing through Romans (Bro. Billy's current Sunday morning series at Grace), Deon picked up where he'd left off in Isaiah. Guess how Isaiah 44 starts off....Yep, with a big "Fear not": Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams in the dry ground...(see verses 2-3).
A woman once asked how she could find the Bible's answers to the particular issues she was dealing with in life. We've all heard of the flip and jab-a-finger method. A concordance is a great tool. Or a devotional guide that speaks to a particular topic.
But I have found that simply reading the Bible is the best way to find answers to the struggles faced in this life. Start reading, and then read the next page, and the next. You'll be amazed at how God puts you in just the right passage at just the right time to address just exactly what you're dealing with.
And if you don't see what He's telling you the first time, don't worry. Persevere. God will get His message through.
1 month ago