“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, ‘You go there,’ and He says to the seas, ‘You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, ‘No.” – David Platt “Radical”
I have been so very disobedient lately. I’ve known for about a week that I needed to write this post, but I have been putting it off. I have not spoken of it, I have not acknowledged it, but it has been there in my heart.
Last week I was driving down 64th Ave towards the bank to deposit some cash and was stopped at a red light. A homeless man stood there with a sign. He looked me in the eye. I looked away. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me so clearly, give him $20 from your wallet. And yet, I consciously, deliberately chose to be disobedient. The light seemed to take forever to turn green. The man had walked past my vehicle and I told myself, “If he gets back to me before the light changes, I’ll give him the $20.” As if he had heard me, he immediately turned around and walked back towards my car. I again, looked away and kept my hands firmly planted on the steering wheel. As I drove away, tears began to pour down my face. I felt the Lord say to me “you just missed out.” I was a mess by the time I got to the bank. Full on ugly cry going on. I had driven away from an opportunity to bless and to be blessed.
A few days later I was driving down 64th and thought to myself “if he’s there again and the light is red, I’ll give him the $20.” I had saved it in my wallet, you see. I knew it was supposed to be for him. And sure enough, there he was, pacing back and forth with his sign beside the line of cars waiting for the light to turn green. And somehow, as he looked me in the eye, I froze yet again and looked away. I drove away AGAIN. How many times will it take me to learn? I felt my own heart breaking all over again.
I spent that $20 this week and as I handed it to the cashier in Shoppers Drug Mart, I knew it was wrong. I knew I was supposed to give it to that man. Instead, I spent it on nail polish.
My stomach feels sick as I write this. I am disgusted with myself. My heart is broken.
I’ve been learning a lot lately about listening to the voice of God. The last few months have been an amazing journey in hearing the leading of the Holy Spirit. My deepest desire is to align my will with the will of God, to be sensitive to His voice, and to simply be where He wants me to be. I’m learning. All of this is learning. Especially when I fail. Big time.
I’m telling you this story because it’s real. We do this. I do this. We know that something is right (or wrong) and we make this choice in our hearts, “No, I will not do that” or “I’m going to do it anyways.” We ignore the signs, the promptings, the still, small voice in our hearts to do something, go somewhere, say something, not say something. We ignore the warnings of our friends and family. We shove aside the Word of God. We rebel against the heart of God daily. We date the wrong people, gossip about our friends, lash out against our loved ones in hurt and anger. We walk past the homeless, turn a blind eye to the broken, we look God in the face and have the audacity to say “no.” I can’t even count how many times I have been with someone and come face to face with a person, only to walk by and a few minutes later turn to each other and admit that we both knew we were supposed to stop and speak to that person, pray for them, etc. I also can’t count how many times we just kept going. We acknowledged that we made the wrong choice, felt sad for a moment and made no attempt to go back.
Our pride keeps us from trusting God, our selfishness keeps us from experiencing what He has for us. Our desperation to control keeps us from total dependence on Him.
And it’s not just the big things. It’s the little things, the small things, the day to day things.
It’s not just the things that we do, it is the things that we do not do. Like sitting in my car with the window rolled up and a $20 dollar bill tucked safely in my wallet. It’s sitting in silence when I know that I have a word that needs to be spoken. To an outsider, I have done nothing wrong. But I, oh I know my own black heart and I know that I have sinned. I used to think when I was a child that adults never sinned because you don’t see them being disobedient against their parents (which, as a child, is pretty much the only sinning you do). Now I know how much worse it is, to sit in silence and know that you are actively practicing sinful disobedience against God Himself.
I think back to the beginning of this year when I chose the word “Move” for myself. I have stepped out in faith and done a lot of things this year that I never thought I would do. But I have also failed in many ways. I have sat still with my heart beating so loudly in my ears and consciously said “No.” How much have I missed out on? Can I ask, how much have you?
I write this not to condemn you or myself. I write it because we need to come face to face with our own weakness sometimes. Because, it is when I am struck by my own weakness that I discover how great God is. I can’t do these things alone. I have relied too much on my own strength, my own will, my own courage. I have let the fear of what the person behind me will think, what my friends will say, if I speak what is in my heart. I have allowed myself to doubt, to diminish, to eliminate the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life.
I have missed out. I know I have. And I hate that. I don’t want it to happen anymore. I write this because I want to be a woman of action. I want to listening more actively to the voice of God and to be purposeful about obeying His voice, whether it’s as simple as handing a $20 to someone who needs it more than me, or as big as picking up my life and moving across the world. There are no small things when God tells you to do it. It’s all big. It’s all real. It all matters.