Embarrassing Obedience


What now, really? This was how my conversation with God was going.

I was in the park with the dog, walking round and I'd spotted a teen, also walking round but the opposite way. He walked slowly, head down but half smiled as we passed. When he got to the play park he sat on a bench for a while and then carried on walking.

When I first spotted him, I did wonder why a teen, who looked to be in uniform was in a park in the middle of the day. As we passed and he half smiled, I felt he looked a bit sad. The way he walked was like he had the world on his shoulders. I don't know if I was thinking this or if God was telling me this, but I definitely had the sense that I should check he was ok.

It only takes a few minutes to circle the football field but it is amazing how much you can argue back and forth in this time. "How am I going to check if he's ok?", "Ask him!", God replied. This is where "What now, really?" came in. Scenarios and opening lines raced through my head. He was going to think I was a mad woman. "What if he thinks I'm weird?", "What if he needs someone to talk to?", "How am I going to start?", I didn't want to open with "God told me". This continued back and forth.

I'd come to the point in the park where I could either turn right and head home or take a left which would mean I would pass him on the circuit again. I turned left, my mind raced. As I drew nearer I lifted my head to catch his eye and asked "Are you ok?"

Don't say it, I know a closed question, what was I expecting. The problem is in the split second of asking I noticed that he was younger than I first thought and if he was in uniform it had no school emblem on it. It was enough distraction to throw me. He of course said "Yes" (he was fine) sounded surprised. I meant to say something more leading like "Have you walked out of school" or "You look a little sad" but in that split second I let the doubt creep in and just said "Are you sure?" Now he did look at me as if I was a little odd, nodded his head firmly and walked on.

Was I wrong? Had God even spoken to me about this troubled looking young man? As I carried on walking it didn't feel like it, in fact it felt like God was saying "try again" on the next lap. We continued to argue back and forth.

I'd like to be able to say that I had an amazing encounter with God and helped this young man, but it didn't happen. This time I turned right, but I hesitated, it was such a strong feeling that he was not ok, but I'd lost my nerve.

I walked home feeling like I'd missed an appointment that God had made for me.

The reality is sometimes faith is hard. At times we doubt God's call, we question his leading and our fear takes centre stage.

Whether the young man had worries or not I'll never know but I do pray God can take my feeble fumbled words and turn it into something good. Maybe he just needed to feel noticed.

Have you ever overcome your embarrassment and been obedient anyway? Or does this story sound all too familiar. Let's encourage one another, share your thoughts and stories.

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