About a month ago at church, I was trying to connect with God, while simultaneously making sure my boys didn’t push over one of the prayer banners – in this moment, God spoke to me. I had looked up and saw a member of our church family rubbing his shoulder. God said to me, ‘Go pray for him, I want to heal him.’ So, I closed my eyes and prayed for him. When I opened them again, I saw someone else with their hands laid on his shoulder, praying. God said, ‘No I meant – go and pray for him.’ Despite all of this, I still didn’t walk across the hall to speak to him!
Two weeks later, the man with the shoulder problem stood at the front of church telling us all how God had healed him. What a missed opportunity! God had asked me (with little-to-no experience of praying for the sick) to pray and heal someone, what a story that would have been.
In the Genesis story we see a brief glimpse of how God intended our relationship to be with him. We walked ‘naked’, without shame or fear, talking to God. We were given responsibility to be co-workers with him looking after and managing the earth. The Eden picture is one of heaven on earth, where God’s kingdom was as it was meant to be. In the Lord’s prayer, we pray ‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it in heaven’, and yet, too often we do not take the invitation to be part of it. Instead, we fall into the same trap as Adam and Eve and decide we want to live by our own wisdom and not God’s.
Having a good prayer life where you speak openly with God and hear from him is great, but there comes a point when we are called to obedience.
Obedience is not always as trivial as the example I gave at the beginning; it can be a call to real sacrifice. But whatever God is asking us to do, I believe that we should see it in light of the bigger picture. God is wanting us to be partners with him and co-workers with Christ to bring his Kingdom to earth. As we obey, the moment may be tough or risky or scary but what God is inviting us into is an adventure that brings heaven into our lives and the lives of others.
I am disappointed to have missed the opportunity to see God work through me in the healing. But, imagine how disappointed Noah would have been if he hadn’t built the ark, or if the disciples had refused to hand out the bread and fish as there clearly wasn’t enough.
As we obey God in the little things, we partner God in his work, and we get to know him more and therefore we grow to trust him more and can obey Him in the big things.
God has challenged me to be quicker to obey, and seeing obedience not as a duty but an opportunity to work alongside the living God in the greatest adventure there is, to bring God’s kingdom into my life and to those I meet.