He Leadeth Me...But do I follow?
By Susan Moore, Minister of Administration for Communications
John 12: 27-38, 42-50
One year, when my children were young, Jonathan's preschool started at 9:00 and Rachel's Mother's Day Out at 9:30. Therefore we needed to burn off energy for 30 minutes, which was accomplished most days by playing in the gym attached to the school. One of Rachel's favorite games was to station me on one end of the gym while she started on the other side. After the mandatory ?Ready, Set, Go,? Rachel ran toward me as fast as her short legs could carry her. I would pick her up, swing her around, and the ?game? repeated over and over. On one particular morning, Rachel was taking her place at the starting line when baby Rebecca needed some attention. Rachel waited for a moment then lost patience and exclaimed, ?Mom, I will not run to you unless you have your arms wide open!?
On a positive note, this is a memory I treasure. On the other hand, I?m fairly sure I treat God this way sometimes. I?m happy to follow Him and His plan while the road is laid out plain and clear, when His arms are open wide. But when the way is rocky or uncertain, when I?m on the edge of the wilderness, I stand in one spot and demand attention and direction. I allow myself to be paralyzed or apathetic until enough instruction and clarity come my way to illuminate the path. Only then do I begin moving again.
I wonder if the disciples had the same attitude leading up to the crucifixion? When Jesus took time to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, to admit His soul was troubled, He asked His friends to stay awake and pray with Him. They were unable or unwilling to do so. Over and over they lost focus and fell asleep. Their fear and weariness interfered with their commitment to fully follow Christ.
As I follow in amazement the path Jesus walked during Holy Week, I have no doubt He is the best example of completely and fully following God. He prays for ?this cup to be taken from Him,? but when a different answer is not forthcoming, His commitment does not waver. He trusts and follows God's plan through the pain and sacrifice to come.
As I reflect on Rachel's conditional demand that day in the gym, I realize that God's arms are always open. His love is not conditional. It's really my decision whether to follow Jesus half-heartedly, only on the good and easy days, or to fully commit to stay close and awake no matter how clear the way.