Romans 12:2 tells us, “2Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” (Voice)
Yesterday was a – flipped out crazy, what in the world, altered state of reality – type day. Traffic was insanely slow and doubled my commute time. When I arrived at work, I entered back to back meetings with folks who seemed to have talking points suitable for agendas different than the topics for the meetings I attended. Their words were in a language I could understand but always seemed a bit off center and quickly warbled onto remote tangents or down unrelated rabbit holes. I constantly wondered if I had fallen out of bed in my sleep the night before, bumped my head, and lost my entire mind because I was unable to mend the continuous disconnect I experienced all day.
It was late in the evening when I left work. I was low on fuel and veered from my normal route to find a filling station. Rather than making a series of turns across heavy traffic to get back to the highway, I took some faintly familiar back roads to my neighborhood. The streets were winding and were speckled with stop signs, speed bumps, and other traffic control devices. It was very dark outside and the pathways were dimly lighted. I had to slow down drastically as though I was “feeling” my way home. God then said, “‘feeling’ your way through things is sometimes where I want you. When you think too much, you can become arrogant and self-reliant. That disconnect you experienced was analogous to temporary separation from Me. This day is an example of the inanity that is created when you run around on your own energy. But, ‘feel’ where you are right now. Your heart is not beating out of the side of your neck and you are not scrambling to decipher the chaos that is surrounding you. This slow meandering drive that you are on now is illustrative of what it is like to be led and fed by Me. You see, your sight can be blinding to you, causing you to race from one fleeting bit of unseen stimulation to the next. But when you ‘feel’ your way through, you are placing your hand in Mine and are allowing Me to guide you to where I know you belong. Right now I need you to be in a relaxed state of mind because I want you to be a mouthpiece for my message.”
Just then, my mobile phone rang. It was my girlfriend who called to ask me for prayer. She explained that she has a loved one who is mired down in youthful fumbling and through a continuous series of unfortunate events, can’t seem to stand up unassisted, let alone walk on a straight path. My girlfriend said she has come along side this relative before and provided money to help patch the holes and bail the rising water on this young person’s challenging path.
I began asking secular questions about the loved one. God then said, “Pssssst! Just open your mouth and let me speak through you. Stop searching for your next set of thoughts. Remember, we are “feeling”, not thinking. It is reliance, not reasoning.” I took a deep breath and started listening. My girlfriend explained that the loved one is a young mother who is being evicted and has no support system. The circumstances are such that once she loses her apartment, she and her baby will be separated as there is no place for them to go together.
The words that then came out of my mouth were not my own. This is what was spoken through me: “We live in a broken world and when we hit rock bottom, we are an icky, sticky, yucky mess. It is very easy to stand back and throw money at the cataclysmic heap from a distance. But you are being called to dig deep and give of yourself; not to reach into your pockets to give what you can easily do without. Sometimes, when we are standing on the edge facing the deep end of the pool, the idea of jumping in can be daunting. It can seem like it would be easier if someone would just push us. But that is not Jesus’ way. He only wants the willing, not the loathed. This is called freedom in Christ. Choose what you will do according to what has been placed on your heart. I will always love you and so will He.”
My girlfriend and I hung up. I looked up and thanked God for the countless lessons and blessings He gave me yesterday. I pondered over the experience that He: 1.) allowed me to go through yesterday so it would 2.) Open my eyes to see the picture He painted for me to prepare me 3.) To be used by Him 4.) So He could speak through me, yet 5.) Show me how much I still need Him. Then Casting Crowns Voice of Truth played in my head, Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in, onto the crashing waves; to step out of my comfort zone to the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and He’s holding out his hand. But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me; reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed. The waves they keep on telling me, time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!” “You’ll never win!” Last night, I prayed for my girlfriend. I prayed that she would find peace in knowing that she heard His gentle invitation in His voice to be the love. I prayed that she would see the way He is showing her to His precise calling and that she would eagerly follow the path He lays before her, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. Oh what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone; surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor, wishing they’d have had the strength to stand.
I know she is still wrestling with God, seeking clarity for precisely how He wants her to answer His call to action. But she recognized His voice and is being drawn into Him to be the love for someone else. But the voice of truth tells me a different story and the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!” And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”. Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.
He is my witness that I have been at similar crossroads; a place where He was asking me to give sacrificially, not just easily. Sacrifice is the act of giving up something you want to keep while easy is something that requires little effort, thought or reflection. God gave us His one and only son and presented Himself to us in a form we could recognize and accept. Before we can follow Him, we are called to count the cost, a ransom He paid sacrificially yet willingly, to save our lives.
I will remain prayerful as my girlfriend works through this with God. I am sure He will show her His will and she will freely choose courageous obedience. It is such a privilege to watch her answer His gentle invitation. As someone who extended her hand to such a reluctant receiver as me, I am eternally grateful to God for slowing me down enough to be touched by her. I am thankful that He brought me through such an incredible experience with her and for blessing me with our friendship.
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” – C.S. Lewis