by Debbonnaire Kovacs
[Jesus’ disciples tell him the crowd is looking for him, and he says, “Let’s go somewhere else. . . that is what I came for.”]
How hard would it be to say "No," to walk away from a crowd that was asking for you, especially if you knew you could actually cure what ailed them, solve their problems, make a dramatic difference in their lives? We often think we have answers for others, and we're right a great deal less often than we recognize. But Jesus really could do all that, even limited to a human body. How could he walk away? Or. . . was it human limitation, after all?
It can't have been easy. It might even have been an agonizing decision. He must have gone to bed (probably late) thinking about it, because he got up in the pre-dawn darkness and went out to wrestle with this thorny question in prayer.
What would happen if we prayed that prayer more often?
"What do you want me to do, God? They're actually clamoring for me! I thought I would want that. Now I'm not so sure. I do think I could help, could be a light-bearer for you in this situation, and in that job, and in such-and-such a mission opportunity. Maybe I could write that book, hold that office, chair the board, and also be present for my family…
Probably not, huh, God? Well then, how and to whom do I say no? Can I really turn away from some people and still be loving about it and still be doing your will ? If I don't turn away, if I try to do it all (in your strength, of course!) will I thus step out of your will?! Forbid it, Lord. Lead me as you led Jesus. Show me how to pray until I know what you want me to do. Give me the strength to do that, and keep me from squandering strength on jobs you aren't asking me to do.
Even if it's a job I have the gift for.
Even if it fits with the mission you sent me to do.
Even if lots of people are begging me to do it.
If it's not what you want me to do today, I don't want to do it. Show me!
Then give me extra love and courage, because I think I'll need it!
In the name of the One who first prayed this prayer,