Go and Tell
Matthew 11:4-5 ESV
I Kings 19:9-15 ESV
Isaiah 29:17-18 ESV
Isaiah 29:13 ESV
Isaiah 35:5 ESV
The first half of my life I struggled to ‘go and tell’.
I had taken classes at church and outside of church about spreading the Gospel Message but didn’t feel like I was a good evangelist.
Gradually, ever so gradually The Spirit taught me that I need to be more authentic and organic when I talk about Jesus. I realized that I was trying to use words that other people used. I was trying to tell stories that other people taught me.
It came out sounding sort of fake.
I had to learn that going and telling needed to be from MY heart. It needed to be MY story.
I also needed to learn to listen for the movement of the Spirit. Since God knows what other people need, I needed to listen and wait for God.
When I first started trying to listen I tried to force it and I got frustrated.
Then I joined a large church where I was eventually on staff (part-time). I did administration for a specific area. I think God put me there so I could see first hand how going and telling was organic. I learned it needed to be from my DNA, my heart.
I realized I had been pretending and people knew I was using a script.
In Matthew 11:4-5 we learn, “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.”
I had to learn that I don’t need a script…
I just need to tell what I hear from the Spirit. I just need to tell what I have seen God do.
I had been telling about what Jesus did in scripture. There wasn’t really anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t telling my authentic story.
I learned along the way that I wasn’t telling my story because I was afraid. I was afraid because in my younger years there were people who laughed at me when I told them my story. There were even a few people who called my story ‘evil’ and accused me of not being a Godly woman. That thought horrified me.
Gradually as God taught me about myself and how God related to me, I found my story. I saw how God had been guiding me all along.
Then through my Spiritual Director I learned the gift of silence. I learned how to listen to the Spirit. I learned to wait on God.
I learned how to sit with a passage of scripture so God can show me His truth.
Elijah learned that in I Kings 19:9-15, “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.”
Elijah sat in the cave and waited and God spoke to him.
Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 29:17-18, “Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.”
Just prior to those words Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 29:13) “this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.”
The prophet was telling the people of God that on the outside the people looked like they honored God but they were not opening their hearts to God so their words were empty and hollow.
When we sit and wait for the Spirit to come and we listen for the heart of God, we learn:
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped” (Isaiah 35:5).
Learning to stop, wait, and listen didn’t happen overnight. It was not easy. The best way I can describe it at first is that when the Spirit came I had a great feeling of peace come over me. Then as I sat in the peace of God I waited and waited and eventually I heard a whisper. It was a very quiet whisper but I knew it was the whisper of God.
Psalm 46:10a tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Listen and wait for the whisper…
Spiritual Practice: Listen
Be still and know God.
In God, Deborah