And that’s okay. We’re not supposed to understand everything the Lord wants us to do. But we all know, don’t we? We all know when we’re being nudged. Not by hearing His audible voice necessarily but by a quiet nudging. Sometimes this nudging is so paradoxically outrageous that we do not understand. It is out of the realm of human understanding. This happened to me once. After praying to the Lord asking Him for some answers regarding a very serious situation that had developed in my life, He turned it completely around on me. This was something I did not expect. He asked me to do something outrageous and completely out of my comfort zone. And there was no way. Nope. I didn’t want to do it, and with good reason, for I didn’t agree with it at all. He was supposed to be helping me. Providing answers for me. Why was I the one doing all the work? Especially this work. I argued with Him. Of course, He was gentle and loving which didn’t help the situation. He wasn’t angry with my arguing as I might have expected. Why? Because He understands me to my core. And of course because He knew what I didn’t know. To Him, it wasn’t about giving me all the answers. To Him, it was about obedience. Before I made my decision, I wanted a little more information, so I said, Are you kidding me, Lord? You want me to apologize? For what? For saying something that is true? No. I’m not doing that. I waited for a response, but there was none. I was relieved when thankfully, He left me alone for awhile.
Several weeks went by and then that quiet nudging returned, Did you forget? The Lord asked me rather plainly one morning. He knew I hadn’t forgotten but had the grace to ask. You still haven’t apologized; it has been 2 months, He said. Yes, I know I haven’t, I said. I want you to apologize before the sun sets tonight. Tonight? Wow, I thought. That’s a fairly specific timeline. He knew I needed that too. Then there was silence. Lots of it. Then there was some contemplation followed by lots of imagined-outcome scenarios. Literally, I went back and forth with myself for an hour. That’s when I decided to give it up. To stop resisting, to grab my pride, wrap it up, and put it in a box on the shelf. But I must confess that the box was within reach, as I still wasn’t 100% sure I’d follow through. Even as I write this, my hands are sweaty. Still. Nine years later. I remember it was Valentine’s Day. For hours, I had planned how I’d say it. How I’d apologize. I wrote several drafts as anyone with an avoidant personality bent would. I became more and more angry with God by the minute. I stomped over to that shelf, took my box of pride down, opened it up, and continued to argue with Him. Are you sure know what you’re asking me to do here? Of course He knew. He seemed to say, Put your pride back in the box and leave it alone. Then I reasoned that maybe He was behaving like He had behaved with Abraham before Abraham was about to stick that knife into Issac. Maybe He’d stop me just like He’d stopped Abraham. He’d put his hand over my mouth just before the apology trickled from it. I had, by now, convinced myself that He was only testing me to see if I’d obey. Because, really it made no sense. I was so frustrated! I did not understand. But at the end of the day, it really wasn’t about my understanding it. It was about my decision to obey without the understanding. Side note: We humans think our intellect is so high, so respectable that we must have complete understanding before taking any sort of risk, especially when our pride is at stake.
It was around 4:30 in the afternoon. I knew, as surely as I was barely breathing that it was time. Time to step out into the abyss. Have you ever been there? It’s so dark and lonely. My foe came into the room and sat down. After a few fake courteous greetings, I said, I have to say something. My voice was suddenly unrecognizable to me. My heart seemed it would burst out of my chest and onto the couch. Regardless of my current physical condition, there was no turning back. I took as deep a breath as I could, and then I said it. That stupid apology flew out of my mouth like a chunk of beef during the Heimlich Maneuver. I want to apologize to you for… (it was a very specific apology as directed by the Lord). My foe was somewhat surprised and said, okay, and then, thank you. I nodded but said nothing. Why did you apologize for that? My foe asked. Because God told me to. I think that response was more important to the situation than the actual apology. There was really no other answer than that. I couldn’t lie and say I apologized because I felt guilty for saying what I had said in the first place. And, it definitely wasn’t because I wanted to apologize. It was because it was a command from Almighty God. There was a bit of an awkward silence and then the conversation moved to something totally unrelated. It was the most bizarre and uncomfortable situation I’d ever experienced. Then it was over. I left the room.
The point of this blog, for all you lovers of drama, is not the identity of my foe, what I said to my foe, or the specifics of the apology. The point is that I obeyed a command. Without seeing the purpose, without the understanding, I did what I didn’t want to do because I trusted the God of the universe. That is the lesson here. Did things work out after that? Of course they did. Later on down the road, I was privy to that much-needed information that I had asked God for originally. I just had to go about it God’s way. Was my life all roses and glitter after that? Heaven’s no. It was harder than I could’ve ever imagined. But boy, the amount of growth I had. There is no peace like the peace you receive when you obey your most loyal and trusted friend.