Today I’m revisiting a blog I wrote last year, before I launched the blog.
Lying in bed, with the whispers of my prayers drifting into other disjointed thoughts, I sank into that space between sleep and awake. Slipping farther away from wakefulness, I saw a single word written on a piece of paper: “Bold.”
My eyes flew open.
“Bold.” Typed in Times New Roman typography.
Every once in awhile, God speaks to me. Not in a booming, burning bush, “Moses! Take off your shoes!” kind of way. No matter how persistently I ask God to shout at me and use flood lights to light my path, he seems to prefer subtler communication. Usually the direction I seek comes about in ordinary ways. A sermon that resonates in a personal way, a song that seems like it was written with me in mind, or a friend who encourages or challenges me. Or both. Often, a Bible verse will jump out at me.
But occasionally God gets my attention in other ways. I haven’t heard his voice literally. It’s that the impact of what he “says” is almost audible. A word, thought, or concept stops me in my tracks. Usually when I’m worrying. It’s so easy to fall into a recitation of things that are going wrong, things that could go wrong. Things that probably will go wrong. My inner worry dialog takes on a life of its own. If I catch myself in time, I can sometimes stop the runaway worry train and reorder my thoughts by spending some time reading the Bible, remembering and believing God’s promises.
If I don’t catch myself, the worry train takes me to dark places. I can spend days anxious, panic barely at bay.
But occasionally, before I get too far down that road, a simple truth will stop me in my tracks. Out of nowhere a new, unbidden thought will come accompanied by peace and confidence.
The night I saw that word in my mind was like that. Not quite awake and not yet asleep.
Of all the words people would use to describe me, I don’t think “bold” would be at the top of the list. Bold is how I like my coffee. Bold is not who I am. I’m an introvert, sometimes friendly, but not generally thought of as bold I don’t think.
God gives us all different gifts, talents, things we seem born to do.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)
Paul tells us we can’t all be the head or feet or hands in the body of Christ. God equips us for what he wants us to do. But at the same time God asks us to do things outside our abilities, outside our comfort zone.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand he let God’s people go, God was right there in Moses’ presence in a pretty dramatic way. Burning bush. Booming voice.
I have asked for that kind of clarity from God.
“God, if you’d just come down and do that whole burning bush thing, I sure would appreciate it. I would really love a heads up for what you want me to do.”
But, in spite of this dramatic directive, Moses still argued with God. “Wait, God, really? Me? Are you sure? I can’t speak! I’ll mess this up!”
I’ve always thought that if I got that type of message, that clear voice, then I’d do his will for sure. But I think God purposely asks us to do things that we can only do with his help. He asks us to do things that are outside our comfort zone.
He promises to equip us to do what he’s asking us to do.
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)
The last couple of years have brought a huge amount of change in my life. Unwelcome change. But through it all, I have felt God in my life. I have experienced his effortless peace when fear and even panic were the only emotions I could muster on my own.
Help me, Lord. What am I supposed to do?
That answer has been simple. And terrifying. Tell what God has done.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe. (Psalm 107:2)
Which is how I started writing again. Coming to this, it seems so obvious now. Of course, this is what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know how I missed it all those months I was begging God to tell me. Hindsight is so clear, isn’t it?
So. Tell what the Lord has done. But like Moses, I wrestle with this. Really? Are you sure, God? What if people think I’m foolish?
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Oh. I believe this. It’s not like God is asking me to streak for him, for goodness sake. Although baring my soul does feel a bit like public nudity. Surely, I can write about the things he has done. The verse that comes right after reminds me that I’m not giving up that much in the first place.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. (1 Corinthians 1:26)
I am not wise or influential, and no one would ever accuse me of being of noble birth. So what am I afraid of?
I have found God in unexpected places. He has been the light in my darkness. And I will boldly go where he leads me.