Recently, I had a powerful encounter with God. Some members of my family had been facing a difficult time in recent days. During my prayer time, my mind drifted somewhat and I began to ask, “Why can’t someone help them?” I have encountered that so-called “still small voice of God” on countless occasions. This was one such occasion. After asking the question, “Why can’t someone help them” that still small voice said to me “Why not you?”
I tried to dissuade God from leading me to help. I prayed, “God, I am too busy! I have a church to pastor!”
“I will help you,” that voice said.
“God, I a ton of school work I must do!”
“I will help you,” that voice said again.
Every objection I offered was blown out of the water by God. Then, God delivered the clincher…the proverbial “nail in the coffin,” so to speak…the finishing move as they would say in professional wrestling. My mind was directed to a passage of Scripture in James in that, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17, paraphrased). James continues that thought in saying that “someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:18-19). James completes the thought by saying, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).
It seems so easy to find problems in this life. It is also easy to lay blame upon another for not doing something that needs to be accomplished. We may find ourselves angry at co-workers, employers (or employees), family members, national leaders, and fellow church members. But this encounter challenged me to ask, “Why not me?”
The prophet Jeremiah had a similar encounter with God. God came to Jeremiah and said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). What a powerful encounter! Yet, Jeremiah, like the rest of us, said, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). Jeremiah, like myself, was playing Battleship® with God. You know the game where one has a set of ships and the other has a set of ships and you call out numbers trying to sink the other person’s ships. It doesn’t work too well.
God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:7-8). Jeremiah listened to the call of God and prophesied in a powerful fashion.
You may find yourself distraught and concerned about particular things in this world. However, the burden laid upon you may be a call to action. Maybe God is calling you to do something positive and powerful with the greatest of passion. You say you have faith in God. Well, put it to the test! James, the brother of Jesus, had it right. Faith is exemplified through one’s works.
Do you have a burden? Do you want to see a difference made? The call of God says to the faithful, “Why not you?!?”
® Battleship is a registered trademark of Hasbro.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001.
Copyright April 2015. Brian Chilton.