As I was walking toward the building, I prayed for a freak natural disaster to occur–like a tornado or maybe an earthquake. No one would get hurt, of course; but the normal day would be disrupted. When nothing happened and each step took me closer to the entrance, I prayed desperately for God to send a whale to swallow me whole. I wanted to be like Jonah hiding in a water-logged belly rather than obediently walking up the steps of the English building.
I was twenty-five years old and about to teach my first college composition class. I wore a three-piece suit and carried a briefcase by my side, and I felt like a big, fat phony. Why was God making me do something He knew was way over my head? Why did He design me to be introverted only to push me into the center of attention? Why did being obedient to God always require so much forced resolve?
Eleven years later I don’t know the exact reasons why God directed me on a teaching path, but I do know that I am a better person because of my obedience. God has asked me to do many things that are outside my comfort zone, and each step of obedience has grown my roots deeper in Him. Sometimes I have had to just shut down my emotions and cling to the knowledge that God knows what He is doing.
I wish I could interact with the young woman from my past whose face had fear written all over it. Before she closed the door of security behind her and walked nervously to the front of her first class; I would smile, look into her fearful eyes and say, “Thank you for your obedience; because of it, I am proud of who I am today.” I also might add, “Wow! You look great in that suit.”
“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’”
– 1 Samuel 15.22 (NIV)
“Lord, help me to be obedient to Your will. I know that without obedience all my works are done in vain. Give me courage to face things that I fear. Show me now what new doors You are wanting me to open.”