My husband and I met in Tanzania, Africa. He has lived in San Diego his whole life, and I since my sophomore year of high school. We have frequented the same locales and volunteered for the same groups, but never met before this trip.
It’s a story only God could have written. A story I treasure and love. A story that leaves me breathless and in awe of the God that I serve.
Yesterday, I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time. A work acquaintance that I don’t know very well. She asked how I was doing, and I gave her a short run-down of events to catch her up, including my marriage last year. She asked who the guy was, and I told her I met him on a service trip to Africa, even though he lives here in San Diego. Not knowing or remembering her religious affiliation, I then said, “It’s crazy how things work out like that” to which she replied, “No, it’s God.”
I was so embarrassed. Ashamed. Ashamed because I wasn’t the one to give the credit to God. Even though it’s my beautiful story. One I know full-well was orchestrated by the hands of my Redeemer. Had I been speaking to someone I knew shared my faith, I would have given the credit to God without a doubt. I would have started with, “God works in awesome ways”. But because I wasn’t sure of this woman’s beliefs, I gave the credit to no one. Serendipity. Chance. Coincidence. Things I do not believe in.
Why do we do this? Why are we so hesitant to share our faith, even just by saying something as simple as, “God did this awesome, amazing, wonderful thing in my life”? Why do we only talk about God with other believers? People who share our beliefs. Who know God. People who are already saved. Not that we shouldn’t share our faith-walk with other followers–we absolutely should. But Jesus came to heal the sick, not the well.
We shouldn’t change how we speak depending on who we talk to. Censoring God out of our conversation because we don’t want to offend someone. Or we don’t want to look crazy. Or a million other reasons we could think up. If God is truly the keeper of my heart and the ruler of my life, then it should show. In my speech, my actions, my work ethic. It should show in everything I say and do. If I truly believe in God’s power, majesty, goodness, patience, justice, and grace, then I should be bursting at the seams to share that with others. I should not be ashamed or afraid to speak my Father’s name in conversation. Rather, I should be proud. Honored.
It’s time to stop being safe. Being comfortable. God has called us to live revolutionary lives. To be completely sold out for Him. Part of that is giving Him the credit where it’s due. Replace “I had a really awesome day” with “God really blessed me today”. Or “The craziest thing happened today” with “God set up a really cool opportunity for me today”. “My spouse and I met…” with “God brought us together…” It’s so simple. So easy. But most of us don’t speak this way. We let the world–things we don’t believe in and have no allegiance to–steal the credit and glory away from our God.
This isn’t the same as beating people over the head with what we believe. Forcing it down their throats. It’s simply acknowledging who we serve, and how that impacts our lives. Acknowledging whose we are and how that changes everything.
Think of the number of people who could be reached if we put this into practice. Imagine how our own hearts would be changed. If we looked at every good thing that happens in our lives as a gift from God, rather than chance, and praise Him for it–show how grateful we are–a transformation will take place. Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, writes about eucharisteo. Joy that comes from thanksgiving. “Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.” (Source) The deep, lasting joy that comes from a grateful heart. In knowing where the credit lies. In recognizing the little things as gifts from God and giving thanks.
Acknowledging God’s work in our lives is a very powerful thing. Powerful enough to change our hearts and the hearts of the people we come into contact with. If we have been given that kind of power, then why aren’t we using it? It’s time to put away the shame and fear. Stand firm in our immutable identities as children of the Most High God. Realize that nothing and no one can take that away. Begin to speak up and speak out for the glory of God, giving Him the credit He is owed. To invite people into His grand love story. To show people the face of God. Now that’s something I’d love to be a part of.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/anyalogic/2315310261/”>AnyaLogic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>