I felt like I failed my King yesterday.
I was feeling, not out of false humility or performance, but in a lover’s way that I had really failed Jesus. I saw what He wanted, felt the tug in my heart, pulling me with Him and I declined. They were this pitiful homeless couple, maybe a brother and sister. I offered to help push the guy's wheelchair up the small slope of the curb because the girl wasn’t strong enough.
I looked down between the handles of the chair and my stomach lurched as I saw thick quarter-sized chunks of dead skin caught in his long, greasy hair. Both of their cheeks and necks were covered in scaly, dead skin that was flaking off like molting birds. They were rotting. It frightened me. But it wasn’t their bent, frail, bodies that scared me. What terrified me was their need.
I began to feel this cloud moving around me, bringing innovation and creativity that often accompanies the presence of Love; God wanted to come. But I couldn’t give into him because it felt too expensive. I turned to fear and begged it to shelter me.
I left them to walk quickly up the sidewalk, only to realise I had taken the long way back to my apartment. The need had shocked me. I may have cradled HIV positive children in the war-torn north of Uganda, been peed on by street kids in India as I cuddled them, and eaten alongside the homeless for years...the need of these two before me felt even greater.
My chin wavered as I acknowledged my fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t be enough for them; that their need would swallow me whole, that I would try and fail. I sabotaged the pursuit of the Father because He wanted to use me, and I didn't believe in myself or in His ability through me.
I guess I’ve thought of unbelief as standard, normal… that it’s sort of okay. Unbelief seems like the layman's sin, so we don’t readily attack it in our lives or communities because it seems benign and unthreatening.
But unbelief is death. Unbelief is stealing, killing and destroying. Every sin in my life has roots connecting to a single rotten stalk: Unbelief.
Oswald Chambers said, "The root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good."
That is the definition of unbelief.
Is God good?
If I know God is good, I can abdicate control and give in, because He is trustworthy. If I believe He is good, then He has my best interest and I can forfeit my need to be right, or to fight.
When I chose fear on the curb, I broke up with God. He wanted to go left and I went right and rebelled. It wasn’t that I failed because I didn't serve the poor, Religion would rap my knuckles and say I didn't do enough or give enough. It was that God wanted to love and I declined because it looked too expensive. I didn't believe I could afford it.
God wasn’t looking to punish me though. He wanted to walk me home. He wanted to be in my failure with me.
I believed a lie that I wasn't enough, that I couldn't afford to give to these two people in the way God would. I believed He would kill me... suck me dry in pursuit of them. I forgot that I had said yes to dying. I forgot that He was worth it, that they were worth it, and I was as well. The Jesus in me has an inheritance that could more than raise the dead in these two precious humans. And so I was protecting something I never truly owned.
Love costs everything we believe we have.
If we’re wise we’ll discover He is free, and by Him gain everything.
Had I not stopped Him and hurried away, maybe I would have prayed for them. Maybe I would have given them my money, or invited them into my home. Love isn't a cookie cutter experience. He's alive. I'm not sure what might have happened there on the curb, but I do know He didn't leave me there, just like He didn't leave them. Failure was never a possibility in my conversation with the King.
Am I left with regret? With shame or disappointment? No.
That left as I came back from hiding. It was pushed out as I remembered that I shine and He loves it. In the pit of my stomach I feel more attached to Him now; our connection more secure. I don't want to stop holding His hand.
I am committing more decidedly to trust that following Love is better than security or control.
If I stop running from, or bailing on Him, Heaven will come. Inevitably. It will just tumble out of my being. I run no risk of being drained by His excursions and rabbit trails, but instead will find myself invigorated and truly alive.
Emily Ables works for the team as Mike's writing intern. Based in Redding CA, Emily is a gifted communicator and illustrator who is passionate about the discipleship of nations beginning with the UK. She spends her days strategising ways to help Mike raise the spiritual intelligence of the planet and learning how to partner with the Truth in the most intimate arenas of life.