What would we do if we weren’t afraid?
Scripture: Genesis 24:1-67
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Take It Further: Not Just Another Love Story by Nikki Mullis
Oh, how the Spirit leads me and my conversations with Jesus go. The only words that my tired, lonely heart heard and felt first this morning were, “love story.” I didn’t even have a thought, but more of a visceral reaction. (Insert eye roll.) Then entered the thought onslaught: Please, Jesus! I do not want to sit through another “love story” of how two people made it through something hard with God at the center. Hear me out—I want God at the center of my life. We talk daily, and we have had some hard conversations and disagreements. I have experienced ambiguous loss in the form of unanswered prayers. I would imagine that this year has brought many of us a lot of ambiguous loss and prolonged uncertainty.
In that moment—in my own disappointment and fear of not having the love story I thought God wanted for me—began not a litany of worship, but all sorts of distortive thoughts.There is no place for a single person in the church. My worth is defined by my earthly relationship status. What is the point in all this for us single people? Can God work on our behalf too?
Finally, my brain caught up to my heart. The love story we read about in Genesis 24 is not only about Isaac and Rebekah, but also about God’s pursuit of humanity. It’s about his pursuit of relationship with me, you, your family, and your neighbor (even “those” neighbors, and aren’t they the worst?). God is inclusive of everyone. He wants a relationship with you, all your authentic self, despite your fear, doubt, lust, addictions, or pain. The loveliest thing is that—even in my fear and uncertainty of what God may or may not do—he is already working on my behalf. God is acting in our lives even when we do not see. I almost missed this truth because of my fear and doubt.
Ephesians 2:8–10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I believe Jesus does not mean for us to work alone without relationships.
To rely on God and bring others into relationship requires vulnerability. I wonder how Jesus had to push past his fear and become vulnerable in Matthew 26:36–46 to let his disciples know what he was feeling about his impending suffering. Jesus shows us an example of relationship with God by inviting the Father into his heart through vulnerability and specific prayers. In the Garden of Gethsemane he cried out, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.” While none of us have suffered as Jesus did, our pain is still difficult. Our uncertainty, loneliness, loss—it is all difficult. God is with us. We have each other because of God.
We can choose to stay in the comfort of what we know and what is safe, or we can choose to be honest with God and others. God starts by changing us from the inside. My prayer for us all is that by choosing to become a little more vulnerable with the relationships in our lives, we will allow people to see God through us. And when they do, I hope they will experience not just another love story, but one of grace and acceptance in relationship with us and Jesus. Just as they are.
Questions for Reflection:
- What would you do if you were not afraid?
- In what relationships would you invest if you were not afraid?
- How specific are you in your prayer life?
Song for continued worship: Called Me Higher by All Sons & Daughters
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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