Can you dare a Yes?
I am reminded today of the gospel story in Mark of the two fishermen mending their nets on the beach when a stranger approaches and simply says, “follow me.” I have always been struck by their response. There was no hesitation. The Bible says they “immediately” laid down their nets and followed him.
For years, I have read this story and thought that if it had been me that day I would have answered God with a litany of excuses why I couldn’t commit. I can hear myself now, “there are dozens who are smarter, kinder and have a deeper faith than me.” “I really cannot come right now. My life is just too busy with six kids, a husband, job. Maybe when things slow down.” If I was feeling especially honest I might confess: “I prefer to be in control of my own life, my time, my treasures, even my faith, thank you.”
But really, I think I often hesitate to answer God’s call, surrender my agenda for God’s agenda, for fear that my heart isn’t strong, brave and selfless enough to fall in line behind the disciples.
What if by saying yes, you could metaphorically “lay down your nets.” All of those invisible worries, insecurities, expectations and vulnerabilities that have been holding you back could now be managed by God? What if by saying yes, doors and dreams that you never imagined became your new reality? What if, by saying yes, you had the ear of God? What if, like those first fishermen your life suddenly took on cosmic importance? What if by saying yes, you finally began to heal, you dare to forgive or accept forgiveness, grief loosens its grip and you experience hope again? What if by saying yes, you finally experience the fullness of God’s love?
Wherever you are in your life, whatever you have done or left undone, God is calling out and asking you to follow. The moment you agree to entrust your life to God, you come under divine protection. Where before you could only rely on your limited intelligence, muscle and imagination, now you are given access to a higher power. Sometimes I wonder who I think I am trying to control my own destiny. If you need to check God’s credentials take a look at the Book of Job. A sure-fire ego check. God says, “Job, where were you when I laid down the foundation of the earth? Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars and spreads its wings to the south? Did you give the horse its might and clothe its neck with mane? Who do you think made you and put wisdom in your inward parts? Do you know the ordinances of heaven?”
When you have the leader of all of creation asking you to follow, you better lay down those nets of yours and follow.
The irony is the moment we have the courage to say, “Okay, I am going to follow Love’s lead,” then we are suddenly weightless and set free. Yes, it requires daring to trust God but what is the other alternative? Trying our best to control every square inch of our lives, we will always come up short. Destined to remain earthbound, instead of gifted with transcendence.
Egos, insecurities, bravado and fear, stand down!
It is important to affirm that trusting God with your life is a daily yes. Let me correct myself, it is an every breath “Yes.” God does not care where you are, what you do or how you look. All God is asking is for a little courage and trust.
Eight months ago, I said yes to God and helped bring a four-year old child from Haiti to Nashville to seek treatment for cancer. Ferlando had God’s unmistakable twinkle in his eye and an angel’s smile. I found myself saying yes over and over again to this larger-than-life spirit who loved mangoes, avocados and American hot dogs. I fell in love with Ferlando and encouraged my husband and kids to fall in love too. On Saturday, we said good-bye to Ferlando. The ride home from the funeral was quiet. I suspect we were all asking ourselves, “Was it worth it to say yes? We gave our hearts only for them to be broken.” But that’s just not the truth. The day we said “yes” to Ferlando was the day our lives were forever changed. Our capacity for love grew exponentially. Our family “yes” is a living testament to the truth that beautiful living happens when we follow where Love leads us.
Rose, my four-year old piped up from the back seat, “But what do we do now, Mama?”
“We open our hearts again, Rose. We say “yes!” Because that is what God asks us to do.”
We cannot even begin to connect the dots to what God is imagining for our lives. As Rumi once said, “We wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace when it’s always been right there around our neck.” The shimmering life is ours for the taking. All it requires of us is a big, brave heart-Yes. And then we live in curious and hopeful expectation of what God will do in our lives next!
Live in Hope,