Choosing God's Will & The Holy Spirit Hibachi
I had this dream the other night. In the dream, I was about to preach in front of a large audience, clutching only a handful of my written notes. Oddly, the monstrous, stone pulpit I was to preach from was on a hill down the street from where the crowd was gathered.
I climbed the stairs leading up the hill and stood in front of the pulpit, which towered over my head. I glanced behind me, and noticed where I was standing happened to be on the edge of a steep cliff that fell into the ocean.
Inside the pulpit was a small fireplace (kind of like a hibachi) that was flickering and warm. I spoke into the microphone, "Can anyone hear me?" A voice shouted up from down below, "Loud and Clear!" I laughed nervously, "This is the weirdest place I've ever preached." From a block away I heard the crowd erupt with laughter.
Suddenly, I had the overwhelming desire to put all of my sermon notes into the fire. I reached out with the notes in my hand... And then I woke up. Weird, right?
But then again, I don't know of a better way to describe my particular calling to preach and to teach. I have moments when it does feel like one step in the wrong direction will send me tumbling. There are others when I wonder if anyone is listening.
And then there are the moments when I know I have been presented with a holy task: to choose to surrender my voice, and my will so that my words and my life can be refined in the awesome fire of the Holy Spirit, or to avoid the refining fire altogether in order to live safely, comfortably and easily.
Whatever our particular calling, each of us is faced with a choice as it relates to God's will for us. You can, in the words of Maya Angelou, "...risk everything for the good thing." Or you can settle for something less noble, but far more easily attained.
Jesus addressed this with his followers when he told them:
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 'For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'"
May you know that God loves you and has a difficult, beautiful, incredible and transformative plan for your life. May you choose God's plan over your own, and may you surrender yourself to the refining fire of God's Holy Spirit to rid yourself of everything that's been keeping you from choosing wisely and well.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.