As a church we have talked about creating a culture of authenticity and being real with one another.
With that in mind I thought it would be encouraging to share something to show that inasmuch as we celebrate courage we shouldn’t be afraid of failure too.
On a rather cold December evening, on one of my many commutes by bus over to Seaford, God spoke to me. It had never been this loud and clear. Left me quite terrified to be honest.
I had got on the number 12 bus in Eastbourne. I paid for my bus ticket and sat down where I usually sit, just by the front so I have enough room for my legs and weekend bag. I wasn’t doing anything in particular. Just getting myself ready for the twenty-minute bus journey. In front of me was a guy with Turrets Syndrome and just like everyone, after I realised this I averted my eyes. Didn’t want to be caught staring. And there it was, just like someone besides me said it, “Pray for healing for that man”.
I have never been more terrified in my life. The first thought that came into my head was that it was probably just me, I had never prayed for healing before. God had never spoken to me about healing before. I wasn’t qualified. Therefore it was definitely not from God as it had never happened before. The logic there hey. This voice had been foreign. It wasn’t something I would think up. I would have given anything at that point for the voice to be just mine. There were people on the bus sitting behind me, in fact the whole bus was behind as I was right at the front. With just the row in front of me with the guy with turrets. How would I approach this guy? Everyone on the bus would see. What would they think. I was sure there was a law about not invading people’s privacy at that point. There must have been. It felt so wrong. What if he found it offensive that I ‘thought he had something wrong or even worse was a wrong thing himself’. What if he didn’t get healed? What if he asked me why such a loving God would allow suffering in the first place. Whatever the outcome I’d still have to come back to my seat and sit in awkwardness, shame or guilt for the rest of the twenty-minute journey.
I did what a lot of us do, I chickened out. I sat there for the whole trip as if glued to my chair. Paralysed by fear, nearly missing my stop. I was so sad about how fear had managed to create an illusion that it was bigger than God although to be honest if I were to do that all over again I would still be petrified.
Fortunately for me, God loves chicken.
I was reminded of a Father in a field who works the land and would love for his young sons to join him. It’s not that he is unable to do the work himself but he loves partnering with his children. That’s exactly what God wanted with me. I didn’t have to do anything that He wasn’t capable of doing himself or already going to do. All I had to do was trust Him and get up from my chair and do the work that the Father was already doing. Not in my strength but in His.
Knowing that I’m a bit too chicken to be bold by myself actually encourages me. It means that since I’m weak, God has room to show his strength. Who knows maybe next time I’ll be chicken enough and yet willing enough to allow for God’s power to be perfected in my weakness. I hope so.