Queasy Stomachs and Goliaths

photo by felix russell-saw
photo by felix russell-saw

Sometimes God calls us to do things that aren’t glamorous. The certain things we each may be led to do may actually make you feel as though you’re going to vomit. I can say that from personal experience because I just went through one of the biggest trials of my life. I had to help someone I love dearly to cope and get through one of the toughest decisions of their life and deal with the aftermath as well. My loved one has had to deal with the consequences of someone else’s terrible decisions. We are all affected by each other’s actions (or inactions), aren’t we? If you really think about it, we are. No decision or action affects just the one making it. It is a ripple effect. Others around us are harmed or nurtured by our choices.

Human nature gives us anxiety, depression, nervous stomachs, and feelings of incompetence. Sometimes when God calls us to do something, the easier thing to do would be to run away.. To hide.. To cower.. To allow someone else to deal with a problem you were directed to solve. It’s always easier to let the responsibility fall on someone else’s shoulders. But then again, if we always wait for someone else to handle a problem we know we should deal with, nothing would ever get solved.

There is an account of a man named Jonah in the Bible. Most of us recall him as the man that was swallowed whole by a large fish and survived. The part that I’d like to focus on however is

Jonah 1:1-3

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

And Jonah 4:1-4

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah was angry at the Lord for telling him to preach to people Jonah knew were evil. Jonah didn’t want to preach to these people. He wanted them to perish in their sins.

My reason for mentioning Jonah is to demonstrate that others before us, others we may consider “one of the greats,” have also done things the Lord prompted them to do but would’ve actually rather died. Jonah was very human and this showed in his actions. How many times would we rather “flee from the Lord,” or flee from life altogether rather than do the thing we ought to do?

Doing the right thing may be as simple as studying for a test instead of cheating or as nerve-wracking as stopping a drunk girl from being raped at a party you shouldn’t even be at.

What if I’m next?…

It may be as easy as telling the truth when your friend asks for your opinion or as scary as coming forward as a witness to a crime.

What if they shoot me because I took the stand?…

It may be swift like when you vote against a bill that could introduce sin against humanity or it may be something drawn out and time consuming – something that has the tendency to keep you awake at night.

What if this never goes away?…

I wish I could be as bold and confident as David in 1 Samuel 17 :

32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

The truth is I am not as bold and confident as David. I do have a little faith and I believe that little amount is enough to get me through. It is enough to allow me to hear God’s nudging.

There are so many times we resort to the old “The world has gone to pot! What’s the use?! There’s no point in trying anymore!” Oh, but there is! There is still hope. The world, although it may be rampant with heartache and misery, can still be saved a little at a time. If we can make a difference by standing up for only one person, why not do it? If we can still our nervous stomachs in order to stand up for what’s right and stop one evil person, why not do it? Although the world is rampant with evil, and some of it resulting from our own inaction, why not decide to start acting now? It may be “too late” for some but it is not too late for others. Our time is now.

Which direction will you take?

 

 

 

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