reticent followers

Posted on September 23, 2009


Yesterday, Russ tried to take Gatsby outside to use the restroom. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. They walk down the three flights of stairs, Gatsby finds a tree or a bush or the side of the wall or a pickup truck & relieves himself. When he’s finished, he turns around to us – wagging his tail in excitement – & proceeds to bounce up the stairs anxious to get his treat.

This isn’t the case when it’s raining.

Our dog hates getting wet. Hates  it. One time I was walking him & a storm broke out & we ended up getting drenched. I was in love – summer storms? Yes, please. Gatsby however literally pulled me home in his haste to find dry land. His paws were getting wet. Mud was starting to stick between his nails. He hates being dirty.

So, you can imagine his disappointment when Russ took him outside yesterday in the rain. As soon as he was able to see through an opening in our stairwell that it was rainy, Gatsby froze. Sat on the steps & stared at Russ like, “what gives? You know I hate rain. Let’s go back inside.”

But Russ wouldn’t have it. He took a few steps into the rain & turned around, motioning to Gatsby. I’m sure Gatsby did his eerily human-like snort-sigh as he slowly walked down the remainder of stairs & used the restroom in the rain. Later, Russ told me “all it took was me taking that first step & he followed suit.”

I wonder how many times I’ve done that to God.

I mean, there are plenty of things I don’t like doing. There are plenty of reasons why I don’t like getting my metaphorical hands dirty or wetting my soul with some adventure. But, all he asks for is obedience. All he asks for is trust.

Perhaps dirt between my fingernails provides relief for someone else’s pain? Perhaps allowing myself to be drenched in sweat eases the load of someone emotionally exhausted?

James 1:27 is perhaps one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It says “Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless & loveless in their plight, & guard against corruption from the godless world.

Not a very elegant existence, if you ask me. This verse doesn’t give us permission to opt out of dirty work. To me, this verse very blatantly asserts that true religion is that which focuses on the least of these. On taking the first step. On filth caked in the crevises of your palm & tears ready to share in the pain of others.

Yet, way too often we are quite reticent. Those we meet on the street are greeted with us quickly pushing our children to “safety”  – away from the threat who smells like old beer & stale bread.  We applaud others who decide to leave everything behind & serve those impoverished & orphaned, yet when the finger points at us in question we hastily turn the other way. I wonder why…

I pray our hearts are broken for those around us – that instead of hesitancy our hearts would be full of faith & reckless abandonment to make His name known. I pray his love would counter the thunder of hate &  flow from us freely & generously & without pretense. I pray He makes us whole so we in turn can share His faithfulness.

I pray we get real & authentic & secrets would be brought to light.

Where is He leading you into discomfort? Follow. Hold tightly to His hand.

And prepare for an adventure.

Posted in: Community, Faith