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October 21, 2013

Lead Me On: When Confidence Cracks

So you’re an unlikely vessel for God’s work. So was Rahab.



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Ever sit in solitude with hopes of drumming up a sound mind—only to be interrupted by inner-voice chatter? As in, “Get up. Go. Do. Come on already.”

When did the “still small voice” start sounding so grouchy?

It seems that even beautiful and spiritual disciplines like solitude, silence, and meditation can have a discerning counterpoint that sounds something like “Dude. Get a move on already.” A fairly typical counterpoint to that counterpoint is this: What if my “move on” messes everything up?

Many of us tend to ask a lot of advice rather than trust our own inner voices. That has benefits, but it starts to fall apart when it is the “still small voice” of God, calling us to pursue a plan that he does not explain to everybody else.

I do NOT. LIKE. THAT.

Who does? We haven’t been trained for it.

The problem with that excuse? Bible characters. The best of the Bible’s motley crew were likewise rarely trained for the tasks at hand—but several walked with the confidence of a little nugget called “Don’t Care What People Think.”

Like Rahab.

Rahab was a prostitute whose house was in the wall surrounding Jericho. At that time, Joshua was leading the Israelites toward Jericho, in the land that God had promised to the Israelites. Joshua wanted to know if the Israelites could manage to overtake Jericho, so he sent two spies to check it out.

The spies headed to town and decided to rest their weary heads at Motel Rahab.

Several tidbits about this story make it a page-turner. Rahab was a prostitute. Yikes. The spies went to her “house.” Curious.

But the bigger bombshell for the spies: this prostitute believed in their God.

There’s a classic C. S. Lewis quotation that says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

I imagine the spies had that thought. Rahab—you believe too?

Who would’ve guessed? In Jericho, everyone was “living in terror” (Joshua 2:9) so they avoided God. Rahab was terrified too, so she…picked God.

And thanks to Joshua’s spies stopping by, her faith was about to get personal.

Rahab got busy. She hid the spies on her roof. Meanwhile, the king of Jericho got word that the spies were in town.

So Rahab lied. She said to the king’s men who came looking for the spies, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from.”

And then she lied again. “They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went.”

And then she pushed it one step more by saying, “If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” (Joshua 2:4-5)

What I would like to know is: Who did Rahab think she was, to be acting so brazenly on behalf of God? I mean, how did she even know what to do?

To whom did she go for advice?

What church prayer chain held her up for a fresh word?

Rahab believed this was “the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). She wanted to act on behalf of that God. So she acted.

That takes guts.

And not always a consensus.

This could also be said of C.S. Lewis. He announced in a 1955 letter that he would no longer write theological pieces—“I now feel quite sure those days are over”—because he was moving on to fiction, he said.

Lewis was falling back “from Christian apologetics into Christ himself.”

Lucky for Narnia lovers.

But what about his fans who were desperate for straight-up proselytizing like his earlier, harder-hitting pieces? Lewis abandoned “serious” writing endeavors for a fictional portal of a closet, a mystical lion, and mythical beings?

And. A. Grouchy. Witch?

Yes. If Lewis could consider serious his fictional writing over his apologetic writing, so too can we consider serious our own direction from God.

Rahab did.

At the time of Rahab’s watershed moments of belief, almost nobody knew. Her people misjudged her. The spies barely knew her. Who would have called her “worthy of your calling” (Ephesians 4:1)?

The writer of James (James 2:25). The writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:31). The Author of this whole Bible.

If your faith walk looks funny, if the next steps in your calling are hard to explain, don’t panic. Sometimes God writes it that way.

Here’s how the author of the Bible played that out for Rahab. Hundreds of pages later, when superstar-of-the-whole-show Jesus enters stage left, the author outlines Jesus’ precious, amazing lineage and guess who makes the list? Rahab. To put that into perspective, guess just how many great heroes of the Bible are listed in Jesus’ lineage? (Not a lot.)

We want to protect our reputation (Proverbs 22:1). But when we get fearful about our image? Remember that the list of people who understood Rahab’s calling was a lot shorter than the list of people who totally did NOT get her at all.

So you haven’t been trained for it? So what.

Knowing God means you know something. That trumps everything. Or it can. If you get a move on already.

Joshua’s spies await.

But please, just to be polite—you go first.


Janelle Alberts is a freelance writer and has managed marketing and media relations needs for various clients such as Microsoft, Wells Fargo and UPS.

Comments

Thanks for this. I was getting confused.

I loved it!! well written and with a positive message about how we are meant to serve God.

Thanks for this article. Appreciate your thoughts.

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