I’ve gotten through my main point and am wrapping up the gospel presentation, I’m finally ready to invite this audience full of college students to consider following Jesus for the first time. I arrive at THE BIG ASK, the call to faith, praying silently that someone would just stand up. Anyone? Bueller? The awkward silence is getting longer.
I have been consistent in both discipline and loving attention. I have displayed firmness in my stance and gentleness in my voice. I’ve done basically everything the Supernanny says and I am exhausted from it all. And right on cue, brother tackles sister again and sister talks back again and I have to go out to the laundry room so they don’t see mom’s crazy eyes.
I had been feeling (discerning? thinking? imagining?) God’s direction to lead a prayer meeting at church. Tons of people were going to come, of course! Except it is usually just me and one of the pastors, I forgot how boring prayer meetings sound to other people (myself included a lot of times) and I feel silly and insecure and entirely ineffective.
A missionary shared recently at church about friends in Syria who have seen 1 or 2 conversions over the last TWENTY years.
Strong Christian parents praying endlessly for their adult children who have chosen to walk away from the faith.
No, I don’t think so.
In a culture of input = outcome and practice makes perfect, life lived in the upside down Kingdom can be frustrating and confusing. While success SCREAMS AT ME to be measured in numbers and results and happy endings and ‘yes mommy’ and ‘yes Jesus’ I find myself trying to find hope in a world of ‘no mommy’ and ‘no Jesus’ and asking the question “Why bother?”.
Why bother with the discipline?
Why bother with invitations to faith?
Why bother cleaning the floors when they are just going to mess it again by evening time?
Why bother going?
Why bother giving?
Why bother sending?
Why bother praying?
Where are the results? Where is the revival? Where is the miraculous story I can write in my prayer letter? Where is the assurance that my children are going to turn out okay?
Where is the success?
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…
“It was during your talk that I became a Christian” my friend told me, who had recently left atheism for faith in Jesus.
My failed call-to-faith. But nobody stood up…
“I was just sitting there listening to all the words you were saying and all of a sudden, my heart changed”.
My failed call-to-faith.
My faithful call-to-faith.
I later had the privilege of praying through the Psalms weekly with this girl, of baptizing her, of helping her to lead her own small group, of praying for her during a trip to Kenya, of standing aside as she grows as a minister in her own right… of seeing a grand tree growing out of something that felt so small.
Jesus help me to be faithful today. Jesus help me to go when you say go, stay when you say stay, give when you say give, pray when you say pray, speak when you say speak, be quiet when you say be quiet. I won’t always understand what you are doing, and I won’t always see ‘success’ as I think I should, but either way, I will be faithful