My coworker and I were standing by a window when a man, yelling and railing, chased a woman across our parking lot and out of view. We glanced in shock at each other. Then, without verse or voice, God told me to “go.”
When I think of God’s calling (and the subsequent fear that often follows), Moses comes to mind. When God manifested Himself in a burning bush and told Moses to “go,” Moses mistakenly believed that his own power was needed to accomplish the God-given task of leading Israel out of Egypt. We see this in his fear. But he was mistaken. It was not Moses’ power that hardened Pharoh’s heart or wrought infestation, famine, and fatality. It was our holy, sovereign Lord.
Only the call to obedience was given to Moses.
When I fear failing what God has called me to do, I do not fully understand the calling itself. Just as He calls us through His Spirit, so He grants power through the same. And when we have the assurance of His calling, “who can be against us?”
That day at work, I am so thankful that God moved me forward without time for me to think, time for me to disobey.
In the same moment that the man and women flew across the parking lot, God impressed on me that I needed to go, and go now. And with His prodding, came the immediate assurance that even though the action went against everything I was taught to do (aka call the police and let them handle it) God was with me and prodding me forward.
As I headed toward the door, my coworker handed me the cordless phone. And, before I knew it, I was fast-walking out of the store. Passing the barbershop, where the two had disappeared, I wondered what I might see. Had he beaten the woman in the seconds it took me to arrive? Was the woman unconscious? Would the man go after me next?
I peered around the building, walking hesitantly now. A moment later the man appeared alone. I called to him loudly, with foreign confidence, and asked if everything was okay. He walked forward timidly, spying the phone in my hand.
He assured me, many times, that everything was fine, everything was okay. “I didn’t mean her any harm,” he swore, pleading with me. The closer he came, the more I could see his arms and hands shaking. He looked filled with shame and fear. His eyes jutted to and from my own.
The barber came out of his shop. He had seen the running and wanted to make sure I was alright. Again feeling confident, I thanked him and told him everything was fine.
With the shaking man in front of me, the Lord moved me to compassion. Truly. I was filled with care for this alone and hopeless human. The man who, seconds before, was running and yelling after a retreating woman, now seemed fearful and broken before the small woman before him. With the Lord’s guiding, I asked what his name was. He told me, lips quivering. And then I asked what was going on.
Honestly, the floodgates opened. He poured out his heart, breaking down in tears, gushing all the hurt he held inside: from his recent job loss to losing his girlfriend to being robbed of his money. I’m a pretty skeptical person. Stories like this often make me doubt their sincerity. But I believed every word. And he didn’t ask for anything. He just stood there, breaking, broken.
Feeling compelled, I told him I was going to pray for him. And right there, standing in the middle of a parking lot, we prayed. Prayed for open eyes, for understanding to know the love of the Savior, for a way to healing from the brokenness . . .
I don’t know what has happened to this man. After taking him into my work, giving him some water and a phone, he walked away, past the barbershop and over the hill. I’ll probably never see him again. I’ll probably never know how the all-seeing God is working in his life.
But I do know that God told me to “go.” So there was a purpose.
“’One sows and another reaps.’”
There is blessing in the obedience, reward in the risk. God doesn’t promise we won’t lose our reputation or our safety or our lives when we obey. But He does bless our obedience (and maybe not always in the way we think He will). I felt blessed that day, knowing that God had pulled me into obedience and that He had used me—feeble as I am.
So, Mighty One, grant us the faith to walk confidently in You.