There is a life beyond what I learned as a kid in a Christian home, and this life involves volitionally intentionally listening and then submitting to what God is saying in that moment, and this involves a tremendous amount of risk!!
Once in Trader Joe’s, the checker was complaining about a hurt shoulder which I promptly commiserated …with (just like any “nice” person would do). Out in the parking lot, God said, “GET BACK IN THERE RIGHT NOW AND PRAY FOR THAT GUY!” Boy, howdy! ‘Scuse me? So back in I went. Got back into line, this time with no basket, and when I got to the front, I said, “Sorry about before when you were telling me about your shoulder. Can I pray for you?”
He said, “Sure!”
“Can I come around here and touch you?”
“You can come around, but dont touch it. It hurts.”
So I stood behind him while everyone waited, my hand about 1 inch from his shoulder, and prayed for the healing of that shoulder.
Then, I left.
At my small group, I told everyone what had happened, and THEY began praying for him. Every time I went in there, I got into his line and prayed for him. Then, once, I smelled alcohol very early in the morning, and I “got” that he needed release from the spirit of addiction. So my prayers changed from the shoulder to the drinking.
A few months later he was gone and I never saw him. I said, “What happened to C. Where did he go?”
Oh, he went to rehab and everything changed for him. He is doing great!”
Oh, Coooool!!! THANKS GOD!
And God: “No – THANK YOU for listening to my still small voice, and for doing what I asked.”
How often are we praying for God to reveal Himself, to speak to us, to use us, to magnify Himself? And then when he tries to practice with whether or not we really mean it, we are too busy, too embarrassed, too “too” for what HE wants to do.
I think Jesus MODELED humanity rightly related to God. God says, we do. God urges, we go. God speaks, we listen. God says, “Put your hand on that guy so I can heal him,” and I say what? “I’m too busy”?
The power that raised Jesus up out of that tomb is being held captive in the bodies of unbelieving Christians who only pray for things that won’t make us look stupid. And as a result, we don’t see miracles every day of the week. Mercy is safe. Healing is risky. Compassion is safe. Deliverance is risky.
I’m developing an appetite for this risky business.