Thursday, February 27, 2014
- Matthew 16:24 (NASB)
There's not a whole lot that I wouldn't do if the Lord asked me to.
Move to another country? In a heartbeat.
Spend my life studying His word and caring for the least of these? Not a problem.
Act like a fool? …
I'm sorry, what? A fool?
The truth: I cringe at acting the fool for God. Now, I'm not talking about foolish behavior as discouraged in the book of Proverbs. I'm talking about foolishness like David's in 2 Samuel:
And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants' maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!" So David said, "… I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes."
- 2 Samuel 6:14, 16, 18, 21a, 22a (NASB)
Can you imagine what the citizens of Israel must have thought as they saw their king dancing like a madman through the streets in nothing but his undergarments? If I had been in that crowd, my face would've been beet red and I would've turned my face away, embarrassed for my foolish king.
And, yet, God calls us to do things that look foolish. So the question is: Am I willing to deny my pride to do what He asks of me?
He gave me three chances this week to answer.
The first was at church on Sunday, when the pastor invited all those who felt they were in bondage to fear to come to the front and be prayed over. I certainly felt in bondage to fear, and I knew He was asking me to go, but I stood rooted to the spot, paralyzed by pride and fear. What would everyone think of me if I went to kneel at that altar? And I left the church with the weight of my own disobedience on my shoulders, begging for a second chance.
And He gave it to me on Monday in Chapel. At the very end of the worship service, the last song of the set, I spotted from my seat in the balcony a girl walking to the front. She promptly dropped to her knees on the altar. I knew I was supposed to follow her but, again, I stayed put. My pride would not allow me to appear so "foolish" and "weak" in front of all Asbury. And I left cheapen knowing that I had disobeyed again. What if I went my whole life just asking for more chances? Sure, He'd keep giving them, but what if I died before ever taking that step of obedience? Could the Lord say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" to one who never obeyed? I had a choice to make. I could live in obedience or in disobedience, but not both. I could not obey sometimes and disobey at others. I obeyed or I didn't, and that obedience would define my relationship with God.
And then, Monday night. The third chance. I went to the UK library to study off campus with some friends, and the moment i walked through the doors, I felt an urgency I have only ever felt when I needed to pray fiercely for someone. I was supposed to talk to somebody. I didn't know why, and I didn't know what I was supposed to talk about, but I knew I was supposed to do it. I sat fidgeting in my seat for a few minutes as my friends studied around me. This was much "worse" than the altar call at Asbury. The worst anyone would think of me at Asbury was that I was a tad bit charismatic. At UK, I could be called crazy, stupid, insane, an idiot, a fool. I had to decide: Was I going to obey or not? Finally, grinding my feet into the floor, I stood up, grabbed my backpack, and announced that I would be back, and walked off.
And He took over from there. He pointed out who I was supposed to talk to. He gave me the courage to start the conversation. He gave me the topic (the Psalms, because I had a test on them the next day). The girl I spoke to had a test the next day as well and I encouraged her to pray before taking it, and told her that if she ever wanted to get back into the Psalms (she had tried, but had never really gotten into them), that she should read Psalm 16. A completely random Psalm; I quite literally had no idea what Psalm 16 was, but maybe it was just what she needed.
Later on, when I shared this story with others, they would tell me that I was brave. That I was courageous.
Anyone who has known for me for any amount of time knows that there is no world in which I am brave enough to do something like that. I'm a coward. I'm a scaredy-cat. I run from everything and everyone. The only world in which I'm able to be that brave is the world in which I let Him be brave in me.
He is faithful. All He wanted from me was the first step. The only thing I did that night at UK was stand up. That's it. He did the rest. All He needed was my will to meet His Spirit.
Since Monday night, I have been asked to do more strange and terrifying things than ever before. Go down to the altar during chapel and pray for someone. Eat with my professor (who terrifies me, simply because he's a professor) at lunch. Talk for an hour and a half with someone hardly know and share with her some of my most vulnerable life experiences. Stop setting an alarm in the morning. Yes, I have stopped setting an alarm, and started praying before bed every night, "God, wake me up when you want me up." Sometimes He'll wake me up with time to get to morning prayer. Other times, He wakes me up in time for class. The point is that He is faithful. I have not missed a class yet, and I trust Him to wake me up when I need to be up.
Not setting an alarm looks foolish.
Going really deep with someone you don't know looks foolish.
Going to the altar in the middle of a chapel service looks foolish.
Talking to someone random about the Psalms looks foolish.
But I am willing to look the fool for the glory of God.