As I left the house this morning, I quipped “I'm off to see The Wizard,” and for comedic value could help adding “I need to ask for a brain.” Which led inexorable to me mock singing “I could whistle away the hour, conversing with the flowers. If I only had a brain.”
My wife corrected my mistake, and told me I would “...while away the hours, dear.”
After I said my goodbyes, and started walking away (no, I did not skip down the walk, as if it were a yellow brick road, nor did I sing “Good Ship Lollipop” but, I will remember to that next time) from the house I realized how much we Christians are like the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Except, it's not the The Wizard, an old man behind the curtain, we're asking, it is our Lord.
How many times have we prayed things like, "God, please give me peace" or "Lord, if it is your wll, give me boldness." Why do we need to ask for boldness or peace, doesn't God's word say we have them, the Word of God says 365 times phrases like "Do not be afraid" and “Do not worry.” The psalmists tell us, "With God on [our] side, what shall [we] fear?" and that "[We] can do all things, through Christ Jesus who strengthens [us]." I believe those to be true, but at times I ask God for strengthen. The Bible says he's already given us strengthen, so why do I have to ask Him for it?
It is because we have a habit of getting caught up in the moment, in the struggles of life, and we forget what we have been called to be and we have been blessed with. Troubles will come, and we will face times that make us feel fear, weakness, doubt and/or worry. But, those feelings should never come to say, they should come to pass. I wonder sometimes how many times Moses called out to God saying "Lord, I know you want me to do this, but I'm not good at speaking. I have no idea what you were thinking in choosing me."
I ponder if the little Shepard boy, David, had shaky hands when he stood before Saul and said, “Don't be afraid, I got this. I know he looks tough, and you're all scared of him, and I know I'm the runt of the litter – but I'm going to go out there and make that big jerk stop talking smack and telling 'Yo God' jokes. Sure, I'm just delivering food to my brothers – a bronze age version of Domino's or Pizza Hut -- not a part of this army, and lacking formal training, but, um, see I've scared off some animals while I watching my sheep. It'll all be good.” Or, was it his confidence that convinced Saul that this humble boy, maybe 16 years old, was ready to face a seasoned warrior. Did David walk in and say, “Hey, Saul, what are doing. He's only one guy. 40 days, really? Look, I'll go take him out, because I know a God who will give us victory. You've forgotten who we are, we're God's chosen. What do we have to fear? Give me five minutes alone with him and I'll make him regret that crack about your son being a bed wetter, and saying that yo' mama was so fat she sat on a quarter and squished a booger out of George Washington's nose. (No, I have no idea what a Quarter or a George Washington are – I don't think they exist yet, that's why it is such a bad insult for a Palestinian to use on an Israelite in the bronze age).” Alright, the idea of putting the Yo' Mama jokes, and equating David to pizza delivery, I must credit to Joe Giglietti's sermon "Scrap the Model, Change the World," (and don't forget to check out The 99).
The take away, is this: don't ask God for strength, peace or boldness, you have them already, If you need them, remember that God gave them to you when you received the spirit of the Lord. Remember that His ways are higher than yours, and His plans are not be the same as yours; but, even if He leads you down a tough road, all things still work together for the good of those who love Him. He has not given you the spirit of fear, but the world has made you afraid. When you need strength, remember that you have been called out by God, and when you need boldness, remember that you are a "Mighty Man [or woman] of Valor."