Some people love being told what to do. Some don’t.
Believe it or not, some people, in some moments, love being told what to do. It gives them direction. It helps them to feel supported and safe, so the directions are appreciated. My daughter, for example, loved being told what to do when I was teaching her how to tie her shoelaces. She wanted direction, strategy and encouragement. There was minimal risk involved in obeying as she knew from experience that I’d be there to back her up, should she become entangled in a shoe lace nightmare. Being told what to do worked for her on that occasion.
Others don’t love being told what to do. It inhibits them, pushes them where they might not want to go and makes them feel bullied or misunderstood; like my son when I asked him to wear a jacket to school on a particularly cold morning. I was clearly inhibiting his expression and desire to choose for himself what was appropriate school attire on a 9-degree morning. So, sometimes, being told what to do works for us, other times it grates against our very nature.
I’m pondering these thoughts, because on the weekend I had a chance to do something that was asked of me. Or not.
I was instructed in what to do – but of course, the choice was mine. I was at church and we were having a moment of prayer and thankfulness and all went quiet for a minute or so. In that moment, I had a strong urge to pray for one of the children – a girl who had an injury that was confounding medical professionals. X-rays had been conducted, flesh had been poked and prodded, and ultrasounds studied. All with confused conclusions.
“We’re not sure why this little girl can’t stand on her foot. Ah well, have her wear a protective boot and let’s hope it gets better with some physio.”
And so, in this moment I had an option: I could respond to the strong prompting, and do it aloud, so everyone could hear, with her centre stage for all to see and pray for too. I could take a risk.
The risk is praying and nothing happening. The risk is singling out a 10-year-old girl who I love dearly, and offering her hope without a guarantee that what I’m asking for, in front of everyone, will be immediately successful. But then there was the flip side – I could not do as directed and reap what that inaction would sow. Sure, nobody but Jesus would know that I had chosen to not obey, but maybe, just maybe, my inaction in that moment could be a missed opportunity for others and myself to be blessed.
And so, this time, I made a choice to do what I was told to do. I cleared my throat and called this girl over to me and in front of the masses (slight exaggeration) I prayed for her in a loud voice, that her ankle and foot would heal, no explanation necessary and that God would be glorified as the Healer. I was then joined by another lady at the church and we prayed for fear to be gone and for love to take its place; that she would know she is loved by an almighty God. It felt great! She felt loved and supported and I felt peace, knowing I had been obedient to what I felt was instructions from a higher level.
So my point? Obeying that still, small voice that you recognise as God’s Sprit can bring about a beautiful peace in your own heart and has the potential to bless others, regardless of the outcome.
The outcome, I hear you wondering? Well, it was joyous, and I am smiling the entire width of my face as I write.
That night she took off the boot to attempt her physio exercises and began to walk and then stopped and started to cry. Her mother asked her immediately, “what’s wrong, are you okay, why are you crying?” To which she happily and weepily confessed her healing, “It doesn’t hurt, it worked, it worked, it doesn’t hurt”.
I praise God that He helps us to know what to do and that He helps us to obey and that He works through our obedience, for His glory.