Saturday, November 17, 2007

The hazy smoke filtering through the trees and sunlight gives an eerie beauty to the quiet afternoon. Alone at last, I sit down to read, meditate, pray and simply enjoy being alone—before God. I worked my way through First and Second Timothy, and stopped to rehash my day.

April is as refreshing as the month whose name she bears. God has been merciful to me in His choice of friends for me. She stayed until noon, and we caught up on the Lord’s work in each of us—sharing, listening and confirming or conversing. I’ve been missing her. It’s amazing the bond we have, for as little time as we get to spend together. Somehow, when we are together, we just click—I can be completely honest with her, transparent and vulnerable and she is the same with me. The bond between the Lord’s people is truly a great mystery.

Miss Bethany Day has a knack for playing the drums. Josiah sat her down on his stool and she went at it with both sticks, an eager bass peddle foot and a rhythm that embarrasses me. Five years old, and if she had a drum set, she’d be beating up the neighborhood.

I called Ashley to invite her over tomorrow afternoon—with her boyfriend and son if they would like to come. I’ve gotten some good counsel from Papa and Jon Day and think I’ve got some good direction how to proceed with her. First she needs to bear fruit in keeping with repentance by ceasing her fornication. Next, she needs to be baptized and get into some church fellowship. It sounds simple, easy and straight-forward on paper. I can only pray it will be as simple and clear. I’ve had no answer.

Juana answered her phone, but she was eating dinner, and I offered to call her back later. I couldn’t detect any particular enthusiasm in her voice—wouldn’t she be eager to hear from me? When I called again, she didn’t answer, and apparently has a new phone with no answering service yet.

Another woman answered at Ellen’s house and told me she was gone taking her daughter to the hospital. She took the message that I’d called and asked me to call another time.

Now I’m left to myself, wondering if these were true or false conversions. They heard the true gospel. Was it just fire insurance? Something they thought they could do once and be saved from hell? I shared the meaning of repentance. I explained the need to read their Bibles and obey what they read. I left Ellen and Ashley both eagerly devouring the gospel of John. What’s wrong? Is it me? Is it them? Is it just the enemy? How do I pray down this phone block? What in the world am I supposed to do? I’ve cried and prayed, and prayed and cried. I’ve asked for prayer. I’ve begged the Lord for help. I can’t do this on my own. I’ve told Him over and over again. I didn’t get myself here, I didn’t get them here. He did it all. He’s got control over this, somehow, some way that I can’t understand. I’m trying to be obedient. I’m scared to death to call them—scared I’ll figure out it wasn’t for real, or that they don’t want to serve the Lord. But I’ve done it. Over and over and over and over and over again. Why is there no answer?

My mind repeats like a broken record: You didn’t read your Bible enough today. You didn’t pray enough today. You’ve failed today. You’ve not been perfect today. You didn’t read your Bible enough today.

I know it’s the enemy. It’s probably true. Satan puts some truth in every lie. It’s true that I wasn’t perfect. It’s true that I didn’t read my Bible or pray enough today. I never do. It’s not possible to read my Bible or pray enough, because that’s a legalistic view of a relationship. I can’t quantify my devotion, but more importantly, it doesn’t matter. It’s an overvalue of my works—as if I could make things happen through my piety.

It’s the same enemy who whispers, “Don’t call her yet. You’ve not prepared enough. You’d better go pray and read your Bible some more. You won’t have any answers for her.” I know I need to pray and study, but I’ve also got to act. I’ve got to be a doer of the Word, not merely a hearer who deludes herself.

But now, when I’ve obeyed, now what? Now that she’s not answered.

Now I should go read my Bible and pray some more.

Lord, I dare no more delay

What Thou hast bid, that I obey.

Excuses are deception’s wiles

That bid me tarry yet awhile.

Then, when I’ve done what Thou hast bid

Lord, though Thy purpose still be hid,

And though the answer be not clear

What can I do, but bend Thy ear?

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