Sitting here at my kitchen table this morning, sipping my coffee, I am struggling.
Struggling with obedience. Obedience to the Lord. My head is in a knock-down-drag-out, no holds barred battle with my heart…and with Jesus. WWF has got NOTHIN’ on me today.
I'm struggling with a true 'WWJD - What Would Jesus Do' moment -- and I’m thinking, “Hellllloooooo, me!! This SHOULD be a no-brainer!!“ Because this is Jesus we’re talking about here. It’s Jesus calling. And I’m not talking about the devotional book.
It’s Jesus calling -- and He's calling me! It's Jesus Who is doing the not-so-gentle nudging right now, tapping me on my shoulder and telling me I need to do such-and-such. It’s Jesus Who continues to place the face of this particular person before my mind’s eye and to place their need upon my heart.
Yet…..here I sit,trying to make excuses, trying to find my way around and maybe even out of this ‘dilemma’, almost literally covering my ears with my hands and chanting, “Nah na, nah na, nah na -- I can’t hear You!!!!!” like some foolish, stubborn and spoiled brat. As if THAT’S going to shut out His still, small Voice.
Smack dab in the middle of a season that’s SUPPOSED to be about giving from the heart, not the wallet; right in the midst of a season when I’m encouraging others to prepare their hearts, minds and souls to celebrate the birth of and welcome for the One Who was -- and still is -- the greatest and best gift of all, I’m wrestling with what I know I MUST do (the Difficult thing) and with what I would much RATHER do (the Easy thing). This is pretty much a shameful and embarrassing confession to put into words and to share here. But confessing this is akin to slicing into a snake bite to suck out and spit out the poison. It begins the process of healing. It's cathartic for me. And enlightening.
Yes, Jesus is calling -- but I'm not responding as I should. At this moment, I’m not feeling much like Isaiah, waving my hands and shouting, "Here am I. Send me!" Actually, I'm feeling more like Moses, offering God not himself, but his laundry list of lame excuses by the light of the burning bush.
Or more like Jonah. If there was a boat pulling out of port towards Tarshish anytime soon, I’d be on it in a heartbeat and high-tailing it below deck to hide, because I really DON’T want to head for Ninevah. It’s certainly not the destination to which I've dreamed of being sent.
But also at this moment, I’m being BOMBARDED with the Word of the Lord:
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices ~ Hosea 6:6 (NLT)
Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. ~ 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law." ~ Mark 12:33 (NLT)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
"If you love Me, you will obey what I command. ~ John 14:15 (NIV)
Ouch, ouch, OUCH!!!!!
Basically, I can pat myself on the back for all I do and have done in the past for other people; I can post all kinds of really cool and wonderful writings on my blog, using big, flowery, twenty-five cent words; I can blab all I want about my relationship with Jesus and how much I love Him, and encourage other people to surrender themselves to Him and partake of His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, but if I’m going to talk the talk, dear ones, I had also darn well better walk that walk. In love. Christ’s unfailing, unconditional, selfless LOVE.
I do not wish to anger or irritate the Lord with my stubbornness and unwillingness. I do not wish for Him to send a huge storm to shake me out of hiding or out of my procrastinating. I already have enough storms in my life through which I'm currently riding the waves.
And I certainly DO NOT wish to wind up overboard, like Jonah, suddenly finding myself within the dark, lonely, sticky and smelly confines of something larger than me. Believe me-- I’ve been there before, too; most definitely NOT on my list of 'Places I'd Like To Visit Again'.
So instead of just sitting here wasting time being wishy-washy and drinking coffee, whining, hiding, pretending I don’t hear that still, small voice of the Lord nor feel His ’push‘, or emailing other people to ask them, ‘What do YOU think I should do about this?’ and checking back to see if anyone's responded yet, I need to get up off my keister and
JUST DO IT.
I’m well aware that there is a cloak of fear wrapped around all of this. A cloak that, every time I think about this person and their situation, feels as if it gets tighter and tighter, completely enveloping and smothering me. And I realize that the outcome of my obedience will more than likely cause some issues and upheavals within my family.
But as preacher Charles Stanley says, “Obey God and leave the outcome to Him."
Jesus is calling: "Do you love Me, dear one?"
Yes, Lord, I do love you.
"Then JUST DO IT."
But Lord, I'm afraid.
"Fear not, for I am with you. So JUST DO IT."
But Lord, how in the world is this all going to work, anyway? I don't even LIKE this person!
"Trust Me, little one. And JUST DO IT."
But Lord, what if I mess everything up?
"Child, if you love Me, then obey Me and leave the outcome to Me.
And JUST DO IT."