Sometimes I want to run away like Jonah did, but that didn’t work out very well for him, so I know it’s not really an option for me. It doesn’t happen very often. I try to keep my heart right before the Lord so that when I hear the whispering voice of the Spirit prompting me to do something, I just say, “Yes, Father,” and do it. But sometimes like today, I go to study my scriptures, and find myself reading something that I hadn’t expected. And then I hear the Spirit whisper and say, “Do this. Help this person.” And suddenly I discover that my heart is not right before the Lord, and I want to tell him no. I keep reading and I try and try to make the words I read mean, “Just kidding, you are taking this all out of context.” But the words keep telling me, “Do this. Help this person.” And I still want to tell God no.
I tell him: No Lord, how can you ask this? Please, no. This will be so hard. How will I do it? How? I think this might break me. This could hurt others I love. I can’t do this thing you ask. It’s not just forgiveness you are asking me to give, but trust. Trust that was broken – shattered into too many small pieces to even clean up, let alone put back together.
But I read the words that mean “Trust me. I will help you.” And still, I see that very large pill before me, and doubt that I can swallow it. The pill is labeled P&F – Pride and Fear.
This was my journey this morning:
Hebrews 10:23-24 (NIV) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
God: You need to help this family member. They can’t do this alone.
Me: But I am afraid I’ll get hurt again – that others will get hurt again.
Hebrews 10:26-27,29 (NIV) “If [you] deliberately keep on sinning after [you] have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire threat will consume the enemies of God… How much more severe do you think a man [woman] deserves to be punished who has trampled the son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
Me: Please, no. Please, don’t ask this thing of me. It hurt so much last time.
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NIV) “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he [she] shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him [her].’ But [you] are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.“
Me: Oh, Lord, what you ask is so hard.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) “Now faith is being sure of what [you] hope for and certain of what [you] do not see.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) “Therefore, since [you] are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and l et us run with perseverance the race marked out for [you]. Let us fix [your] eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of [your] faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Me: I think I have already lost heart. I am so afraid of this thing you are asking me to do. I felt like my world exploded before. How can risk this again?
Hebrews 12:7, 11 (NIV) “Endure hardship as discipline; [I am] treating you as [a daughter]. For what [daughter] is not disciplined by [her] father?… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 13:1-3,5-6 (NIV) “Keep on loving each other as brothers [and sisters]. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering…. God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So [you can] say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?“
Hebrews 13:16,20 (NIV) “do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. May the God of peace,… equip you with everything good for doing his will, and [let him] work in [you] what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ…”
But, like Jonah, I would run from this if I could. And I turned away from those passages, thinking to read something less… insistent. Alas –
Hebrews 3:7-8, 11-14 (NIV) “So as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear [God’s] voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion…. [for this reason] I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion…”
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion… (Hebrews 4:7) [for this reason] They shall never enter my rest.”
Hebrews 4:9-13 (NIV) “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following [our] example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Me: Ouch. Okay, I understand.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) “Therefore, since [you] have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith [you] profess. For [you] do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with [your] weaknesses. But [you] have one who has been tempted in every way, just as [you] are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that [you] may receive mercy and find grace to help [you] in [your] time of need.“
God: Please remember this –
Luke 18:18 (NIV) “A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?‘… When Jesus heard this he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
I just realized this story in Luke 18 isn’t about money. It’s not even really about helping the poor. It’s not about thinking you or I are better than someone else. It’s about trust. It’s about being willing to go all-in to follow Jesus Christ. He’s not asking me to sell my stuff. God is asking me to go all-in, do the hard things, and trust that he will meet my every need.
John 10:9-10 (KJV) “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.“
This is a hard thing I’ve been asked to do, but I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father is patient with me and takes the time to not only admonish me, but to lift and encourage me as well. “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 1 Nephi 3:7