There’s a real life drama in the cinema called The Walk. I shan’t be watching it. I can barely watch the trailer. The idea of walking on a line high in the air has zero appeal to me. But I guess I admire the commitment, the passion for the activity. The determination that no matter what it took he would achieve his ambition. There are many people like that in the world those who are driven to fulfill a calling. People like Terry Fox, Dr King, Nelson Mandela to name a few, people who went to extraordinary lengths to achieve their vision.
I’ve just been reading the major prophets – major refers to their length rather than importance – and they were asked to do some freaky things. First and not least freaky they were asked to speak for God. They gave proclamations that were to be delivered as if they were God actually speaking. Elijah had to lie on his side for over a year. Daniel had to trust God enough to be thrown into a den of lions. Isaiah had things ‘easy’; he did a lot of talking but still he predicted awful things that were going to happen to Israel not from a distance but right in their faces. Jeremiah was put in stocks, thrown down a well and hated by his family, and was challenged by other ‘prophets’ who said he was completely wrong.
What kind of faith is it that hears a voice and believes it is God to the utter limits? No matter what happens, no matter what they are asked to do, no matter what is thrown at them they keep on believing that it is God’s instruction and they do it. References can be found in their books about the hope God will send; about the new covenant He promises but none of them lived to see Jesus. It’s something extraordinary that keeps faith in the midst of persecution.
We don’t have prophets today like those. God does still speak – no matter what people may say. I have heard Him – through the Bible, through teaching and through His Spirit within us. Like the Old Testament prophets we have God’s Word as the plumb line to assess what we hear. But still the questions arise: how did they know? How did they believe hard enough to do the things they did? What would I do? How would I measure up?
Good news – I don’t have to measure up because I am accepted and loved just as I am.
Good news – God has plans and purposes for me that are just as important as the messages the prophets gave.
Good news – there are no minor players in the Kingdom of God because we are all called and we are all equipped for that calling by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
That is good news but there is a flip side – not bad news but the point of having good news. I have a calling. I have a responsibility to listen and do. Some of the things I am called to might be scary. They might even be freaky but I can be sure the One who calls provides for the task. Jonah ran away from his call. I can run too and while God might not send a huge fish to deal with me I will be letting down the one I love and who loves me. I might fail, fall down or make a mess but a willingness to try is what matters. Practice makes perfect I have heard.
So God speaks and I respond. I have to respond whether it is easy, hard or freaky. I don’t get to pick and choose because I am in this with everything I have. I can look at the writers of the Bible as heroes, as examples and decide to do as they did. I can decide that Jesus went the whole way and He is my biggest hero and my best example. I need to remember that it is only really scary if I forget God is good. The chances of being asked to do major prophet type stuff is slim. But really the potential of day-to-day living hand in hand with God has the potential to be as exciting and fulfilling as any ambition I can imagine.