Sometimes God calls us to do scary things. He calls us to leave the comforts of our homes and become missionaries. He calls us to change jobs so we can start ministries. Sometimes he even asks us to do something really terrifying: talk to our friends about him!
In my life it seems every time God asks me to do something crazy I go through the same process. First I say, “I’m sorry, you didn’t really just say that, did you?” Followed promptly by “d’oh!” when I realize (alright…admit) I heard him the first time. When I begin to submit to the path God has for me, I find myself honestly asking “who am I to do such things?”
Who am I to do great things in the world? Aren’t there more qualified people? Better educated? Less fearful?
In the Old Testament book of Samuel, God uses a prophet by the name of (wait for it……wait for it…..) Samuel to establish a king over Israel. Up to this time Israel had been ruled by God. So by demanding a human king, Israel was quite literally saying God was not good enough. They wanted to be like everyone else, and if that meant rejecting God, they were okay with that. They wanted to do it their way, not God’s way.
So God goes about establishing Israel’s first king, a guy by the name of Saul. Now not everyone has a great first day of work, and that’s certainly true of Saul. Instead of a stirring speech, or exciting victory, we find Saul hiding with some baggage. Not a great way to start when you’re supposed to be replacing the creator of the universe…
But Saul had a big problem: his desire to do things on his own. (Kind of like Israel’s desire, huh?) Saul had repeatedly demonstrated that he wasn’t interested in looking to God for help. He wanted to do things by himself. Who knows if he wanted to be The Man, or if he was just impatient? But whatever his reasons, he always chose to strike out on his own.
I think that is why he was hiding. I think when he was selected as king he was asking himself: “who am I?” And the answer hearing was “no one.” And so he did something entirely reasonable – he hid. I think if I would have been Saul, I would have hidden as well. How could you possibly take God’s place as ruler over his chosen people? How could your resume ever match God’s? And to make matters worse, Saul believed he had to rely on his own abilities; that he had to do it all by himself.
His fear must have been crippling. And so he hid.
Whenever God asks us to do something for him it’s bound to be terrifying. God is a radical God after all. And we often don’t like doing something that’s different. When God moves in our lives, we will often stand out from our friends. We will occasionally look foolish to the world. But we are never alone. And we never have to do things by ourselves. In fact, God doesn’t want us to do it alone. Part of the reason he gives us such outlandish tasks is to show us (and the world) that he is control. We are supposed to turn to God and ask for help.
So the next time I’m asked to do something that scares me and I find myself asking “who am I?” I need to follow that up with, “is God with me?” or “am I alone?”