Today I’m slipping away with my family for a few days of unplugged family time. I’m so excited to enjoy being with my amazing husband and these girls who are growing up way too fast. You won’t hear from me on my regular schedule this week, but don’t worry. I’m coming back and I’ll probably have some crazy stories to tell!
There’s the conversational roar of about 10,000 women packing into an arena and chatting in the hallways, in the bathrooms, and in the stands during every break.
There’s the wave of laughter that rises and washes over us all when a speaker says something unexpected, or outrageous or more honest than we usually choose to be.
There’s the absolute silence (how can 10,000 women be so silent?) when a woman on the stage in a colorful dress (or neon pink hot pants) and spunky high-heels tells you life was hard, but God was faithful.
There’s the excitement in a speaker’s voice when she talks about God’s Word. It makes me want to pounce onto the stage with my Bible in my hand so we can talk about Scripture like two girlfriends who have 100 favorite Bible stories and even more favorite verses.
My favorite sound at Women of Faith conferences, though, is the worship. There’s just nothing quite like thousands of voices joining together to sing praise to our God, to lift Jesus high above every other name.
The band plays, the singers sing and then there’s a moment when they stop and the crowd stands alone. We sing A Capella, unplugged, in holy unison and united praise.
Oh, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Heaven just felt so near.
Yesterday, I was standing there among the crowd. I stretched my hand as far as it could reach, touching God, surrendering all.
We sang Chris Tomlin’s song, “I Will Follow”:
“Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you”
I sang the words, not as a confident declaration or as a boast about my faithfulness.
Will I always follow where He goes? Do I move the moment He moves? Do I love who He loves? Do I serve how He serves?
Not always, no. Maybe not even often.
Just the day before, I had walked the halls of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, viewing photographs of soldiers who thought it was amusing to hold a gun to the head of a naked, emaciated Jewish man and then smile for the camera before pulling the trigger.
Seeing that makes me wonder if I can ever know with certainty what I will do. Humanity, after all, is so easily deceived into absolute evil.
I want to believe that I would be the resistance fighter. Or part of the splinter group of the German Protestant church who refused to defile Scripture to fit Nazi propaganda. I hope I would have built a trapdoor under the workbench to hide Jewish families or have adopted Jewish children and loved them to safety.
But would I?
And as I sing song lyrics promising God absolute surrender and a heart that beats like His, I wonder—Do I mean it? Can I sing this to Him? Is this true of me?
I can’t know. Like Peter, I may boldly promise that I would never leave Jesus, not even if every other disciple ran away, only to deny Christ without hesitation and run away with the others.
So instead of promising through song to follow unfailingly, I pray as I sing.
May I follow you, Lord? Jesus, help me love and serve like you. Show me where to step and when to move.
Amen and amen.
In Jewish culture, grieving and repentance were very public displays. They tore their garments and dressed in sackcloth and ashes. They wailed so that no one could miss their sorrow.
It was an outward act, much like raising our hand and singing a song of worship at an arena-filled conference.
Yet, God wanted more. He said:
“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Rend your heart; not your garments.
Yes, we have outward ways of showing we repent, we mourn, we return to God, we seek His face. They are beautiful and part of our testimony.
But rend our hearts, Lord. Break down complacency. Shred the lies to pieces that we’ve accepted as truth. Crush people-pleasing and a go-with-the-flow faith that obeys only this much and no more.
Don’t let this just be one more event where we took pictures and shopped. Don’t let us sing meaningless songs without life change. Let the rips in our garments and the ashes scattered on our heads just be the reminder of God at work inside us.
Amen and amen.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King