I missed the word at church yesterday because I was doing Sunday School. While the children and I acted out the Parable of the Sower, and pretended to be seeds, and birds and weeds, the rest of the church were being told that it was OK to fail – I think! We live in a success orientated world where failure is frowned upon, and sometimes rather than try something and fail to do it, we just don’t try in the first place. Once you have failed, people define you by your failure and you don’t often get a second chance!
God had been speaking to me days earlier, when I was thinking about planning for the coming year. I won’t say that I made a New Year’s resolution, because I didn’t resolve anything – but the single word that God gave me was “fearless”. It wasn’t just one word at all, but two – “Be fearless.” Not doing things because I think I might fail is a perfect description of how I often act, and that is not the way I am designed to be by God.
If you count up all the times in scripture that God says to people “Do not be afraid,” and think about all the people God said it to – it wouldn’t surprise me if it came out as the number one thing that God said! It didn’t matter if it was a seasoned warrior like Joshua, or a frightened man threshing wheat in a wine press like Gideon - they all needed to hear the message.
Someone last night gave me permission to feel less than a conqueror! I have a fairly stressful job and like most people doing my job, I get stressed out. I am well aware that I have access to a whole pile of resources that other people don’t have. I have God on my side. I have access into His throne room. I have His perspective on the situation I have to deal with. I have a wonderful Christian family that give me tremendous support.
With all that in place I still feel stressed out at times! I get drained – physically, emotionally and spiritually. And people don’t say it, but I feel it, that I should not be stressed out – not with all the resources I have been given. The Bible says that I am more than a conqueror, but I don’t feel it! I don’t particularly want someone to pray over me. I don’t particularly want wonderful sounding encouragement either. I just want hugged. I want time and space to bounce back in my own time and not feel pressured into being always victorious! I have no intention in revelling in my misery - but I just need time to right my boat and adjust my sails.
When Job went through his time of testing, his friends at the start just sat with him and didn’t say anything. It was only when they began to talk, and offer their perspective on his suffering, that they added to his suffering, rather than relieved it.
Last night someone was sensitive enough to say that sometimes we don’t need the powerful prayers, or the stirring words – but just someone to be there and supply a cup of tea. Sometimes we just need someone to be there, and say nothing.