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About the courage to walk on water.

Updated: Mar 12





"Which of these three do you think was the neighbor of the one who fell among the robbers? 37 And he said, "The one who practiced mercy on him. And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." (Elberfelder 2006*)


My dear friends, dear followers,

"How do you think that is? It's Friday, 11:00 am! The office closes in an hour...I can't do anything today even if I wanted to!"

The young man in front of me kneaded his hands nervously. "You have to help me, really, I have to get out of here as quickly as possible!"


I often had situations at the office that resembled this one. It was usually the case that the urgency of the intervention was not as great as it was presented - and that another week could be bridged without any problems.

But something was different that day. "Help him!" it thundered in my mind, and desperately I entered into the inner dialog: "Yes, how, Jesus? I'm bound by rules here!" "Here ... already ..." it whispered.


I was not in a decision-making position and Jesus knew that. He wasn't torpedoing my working world, but he was looking for a ...loophole. My mind began to race. Who had a VW bus? A van? Who could step in? My heart was overflowing with compassion, but I just didn't know what to do. And the last thing I wanted was stress with my colleague.


I looked at the young man in silence. Then I leaned a little closer to him.

"Do you have something against Jesus?" I asked him, looking him straight in the eye. If Jesus intervened in such a clear way... maybe...

He winced.

"No, no, not at all!" he affirmed, "I'm a Christian myself...at least...,"


And then it burst out of him:

"I put a candle in the window last night. I said to Jesus:

"If you exist, if you still see me, you'll take me to the only Christian there may be in the whole damn place!"


I grinned. I nodded.

And said casually, "Well, I get off work at noon. I really can't help you here. But I can't stop you from waiting for me outside and talking to me."

He left my office and I thought:


"A new adventure, Jesus? With you?"


He waited and we exchanged cell phone numbers. I gave him the address of our small, quaint Jesus Freaks church and told him to come there, that I would try to do everything I could until then.


In the afternoon, when I went for a walk along the river, as I did every day after work, he sent me a message: "Jesus can no longer help me as far as I've fallen. I think he has rejected me." I texted back: "What nonsense! Romans 8:38-39, remember: neither angels nor demons, neither highs nor lows...Wait and see, everything will be fine. " I still had no idea how the story would continue.


He came to our church on a Sunday evening. In the meantime, two or three hard-working removal men had already been found who were spontaneously willing to help this young man. I had a reputation for sometimes experiencing such crazy stories. And after I had briefly described the situation, it was so incredibly cool anyway that a few eager brothers and sisters were found who wanted to answer the call.


We spent a nice service together.

He told us what was going on: that he had fallen in with a trafficking organization, that he had to leave before they noticed he was gone. That he was afraid. We prayed, organized - and indeed, he was safe just a few days later.


However, the really glaring, the really impressive thing would only become clear later that evening:


I had prayer ministry after the service.

He came into our separate prayer room and sat down with me. Started to cry.

"It's not just - a towing organization" - he began.

I looked at him quietly and nodded encouragingly.

"I...well, I just wanted to work at the counter" he affirmed desperately, "but then they forced me to prostitute myself..."

I felt Jesus' mercy embrace him. My heart overflowed, free of condemnation, waiting.

"I-I want to return to him, but...it's not just prostitution. That's bad enough! It's homosexual prostitution. Surely Jesus doesn't think that's cool, does he?"

"No," I replied, unusually calmly for such a situation, with a smirk at the corner of my mouth, "we can safely assume that he doesn't think it's cool. Heiheihei, how did you get into this?"

Relieved not to be judged, he began to tell his story (which I am not sharing due to personal rights).

Finally, we knelt down together. One confession of sin later, one plea for forgiveness later, his shoulders slumped and his body relaxed.

"It's all good," I said, smiling and warm, "everything will be fine. Look, what were the odds that what happened would happen- that you would come to my office of all places, that people would have time to help you now of all times, and that you would catch just about the only prayer warrior who doesn't think homosexuality is so reprehensible that she would shy away from you? He saw you, Jesus saw you, and he wanted you to return to him. And he has opened and prepared all paths for this. But...maybe you'll look for a better job in the future, huh?"


I let myself be interrupted that day. I just chose to take action when I realized that Jesus was almost pushing. Actually, the circumstances were not at all suitable for acting in such a way. The risk of just mentioning Jesus' name in an official situation was high.

So was the harvest. He kept in touch with me for a while. Grateful. And safe.


We always believe that in order to be used by Jesus, we have to be who-knows-what: 20 Bible schools, theological studies, pastoral care training, 18 years of service as an elder. Son of the son of the son of the leader. Involved, supported, educated.

The fact is: when this story happened, I had only been out of all the old entanglements caused by the previous esoteric period for two years. I was young and naïve, and I simply had faith.

"God, you provide for me, not this job. You are my boss, not a worldly one."


Jesus never let me break any laws, but from the moment I gave him my working hours, the most incredible things happened.

The hardest part about starting to really recognize Jesus' cues is overcoming the feeling of being crazy. "I should do this now!" An urgent feeling, an unreal real sense of his presence, like suddenly being thrown into a story and no longer fully in control of your own decision is what preceded every time I once again "pushed a button" as I secretly called it.


I think the fear of doing something wrong, or rather the fear of embarrassing ourselves, keeps us from following His voice far too often. If we are wrong, if we get it wrong, it can end up being highly embarrassing, difficult, maybe even ridiculous.


The point is:

What would have happened to this young man? He said his life was in danger and those of us who helped him believed him at his word. What would have happened if I hadn't given in to the impulse?

We underestimate God's intervention in our lives. We underestimate his reality. It is safer to carry a holy monstrance in front of you than to get involved in something that feels like water under your feet "just because Jesus says so". But it is rewarding, and it is blessing.

I've thought long and hard about how to open up the topic area around Jesus stories and your own story.


I think I'll give you an exercise to start with:


Pray in the morning for Jesus to show you the world through his eyes. Not through your own convinced legal, convinced charismatic, convinced Baptist eyes. Through his eyes. Ask for the Holy Spirit to show people how he sees them.

Pay attention to your thoughts, to your heart. And simply bless everyone you meet in thoughts on the bus, on the streetcar, in the supermarket with Jesus' presence. Spend a day like this and reflect on how it makes you feel.


If we want to experience God, you know, then we can't wait for ourselves to be "fully prepared" at some point. We have to go and trust that Jesus is the one who does the work - not us.

Those who stay inside will experience nothing. Let us become more awake for the lost. And follow him when he calls you. For he calls us his friends when we do what he tells us. And there is nothing, nothing I want more than to be his friend.


And you?

Be blessed with devotion and courage,

Daughter of Zion/ Sibylle

Sources:

  • Elberfelder Bibel 2006, © 2006 SCM R.Brockhaus in der SCM Verlagsgruppe GmbH, Holzgerlingen (www.scm-brockhaus.de)

  • Pixabay "Sea of Galilee" thx to Anna_Anouk

  • Worship: Caroline Cobb "Breath of God"


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