Sometimes – if I am smart enough to listen and to observe all the obvious hints – there are themes that seem to outline my days. Themes – like – love your husband extra hard today because he needs that extra love to get over a hump in his road; take dinner to a friend whose husband is battling through cancer treatments once again ; pray for the leaders of this great country because they are confused by so many things in our crazy world; pray for Israel and her people in the midst of her enemies. Then there are the themes that shake my world because they encourage me to…get out of the boat…take a leap…jump from the skillet into the fire… You get it, right? Sometimes God poses a challenge in those tiny sign posts. And today – I think He went overboard (so to speak) trying to get my attention. God was hitting me where it hurts…aiming below the belt…taking me to task…
(Ugh – He must have also been handing out a huge cache of idioms as well.)
I love my comfort zone. I love the ease of a slow Sabbath day. Watching a movie, curling up with a book, playing fetch with my dogs, talking on the phone with an old friend. Playing and singing songs on my piano. I even love sitting in my recliner watching my preacher from the comfort of an old chair. Pause the video, bacaktrack, check the Biblical reference, chuckle over a silly line that he throws in every couple of minutes, cry when the Spirit moves me. I am the proverbial “homebody”. I have a comfort zone and I love it more than I can say —- until God throws down the gauntlet once again. Do I pick it up or casually step over it?
“This is the day I get to play,
Watch me, God, along the way.
When I run as fast as I can,
Or build a castle in the sand,
While on a swing and flying high,
Or chasing a yellow butterfly.
This day will be the best of all.
Jumping, skipping, throwing a ball.
Keep me safe. Watch over me and then
Tomorrow, dear God, can I play again?” ~Treasury of Bedtime Prayers by Max & Denalyn Lucado.
It was a simple prayer written for children that started me thinking how it could be applied to adults – or maybe – even – to me. As I shared it on FB, I wrote above it: “What a great prayer for all of us on a late Sunday morning – to build a castle – to swing into life – to run towards our goals – to jump and skip and throw all we have into our lives and to trust God with all we do. Amen and amen.” I didn’t think much about it, until the next thing popped up.Hmmm…another children’s prayer. Ok, I thought to myself, this is a prayer day. I guess I should be on a prayer quest. What can I read? What Bible verse is needed? Will I miss it? I was already internally talking to God – too much so – because I obviously didn’t hear Him clearly .
When I tuned into the WORD and shut up, I finally heard His voice clearly. It wasn’t totally about prayer…prayer was just part of it. Child-like faith was another part of it. (I always love God’s metaphoric speech – when I am wise enough to recognize it.) Mostly, today’s theme was about starting a new journey. Step-by-wobbly step. Like a child learning to walk, I am to begin. And, like a child, I am to have the faith to step out of the boat. I remind myself that Peter got out of the boat many times – As Simon, when he was called to follow an itenerant rabbi (Matt 4), when he asked this same rabbi for permission to leave the boat and walk upon the water(Matt 14), when this rabbi changed Simon’s name to Peter and built a new church (Matt 16)…to name just a few.
The gauntlet still lies on the ground. I continue to look at it and wonder if I am brave enough to pick it up once again. “I am getting too old for this,” I argue in my head. Letting my internal dialogue rage, I continue, “It is a journey that will take me out of my comfort zone – AGAIN (sigh) and onto a road that I may not like – at least – in the beginning” (I am pouting rather loudly by this point in our conversation). “Have I ever liked any of Your roads at the beginning? I think not!”
But if I have learned anything about God at this point in my puny life, I have finally figured out that He keeps His promise. God loves me. He loves the risk-taker that I usually keep tightly locked away within me. I know that He reaches out to bless those who choose to pick up His gauntlet as He has always blessed me in the past. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He keeps His promises. I just need to kneel down and pick it up. I am smiling right now, laughing at myself because even though I whine and drag my feet and roll my eyes (just like all children everywhere), my hand is already reaching out and my eyes are looking up at the Light on my path.
“Outta here, Dear, so stick that in your ear.”