Devotional writers have been tasked this week to write “about a time when God changed your situation and how you were compelled to share with others,” like the man who was deaf and mute and was healed by Jesus (Mark 7:31–37). Unfortunately, I have to tell you how much I don’t do that.
I could tell you so many times God has changed my situation, changed me. He does it in surprising ways — God ways — that couldn’t possibly be explained without talking about God. When I jumped off a 25-foot cliff into a tiny pool of water (thimble-sized, I’d say), I did it because “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). This very day God changed my heart about someone I love dearly, toward whom I had a very strong negative reaction. God helped me see what was really wrong and to change my perspective. He has helped me let go of hopes and dreams and then given me something better, over and over. Recently he helped me get over my addiction to coffee, which was causing me physical harm. This was a minor miracle.
The problem is that, when I tell these stories, I don’t feel “compelled” to attribute these things to God, even though the true story is all about him. I have versions of each of these accounts that can be told without even mentioning God. Sure, if I’m talking to a Christian, I can tell the “Christian” version. But there is always a watered-down version that doesn’t speak one word about God. I’ve prayed so many times for God to work in a situation in a “God-way” that is so impossible that the story can’t be told without mentioning him. Then when he does it, I find a way to remove him.
I wish I fully understood why I can do this, why I would want to. I think it comes down to fear. I don’t want to look like a fanatic. I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m shoving my faith down their throats or make them (or me) feel uncomfortable. I’m still on a mission to clear my life of all fear, so I guess the change starts today, right now. When we tell about what God is doing in our lives, we’re really just telling our story. If we do it with that intent, to tell the truth and to give God the glory he deserves, it shouldn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. Maybe they’d even want to know a little more about God. (Maybe that’s what I fear. What will I say?). I don’t need to be a theologian to tell God stories, my story. I can just be me, afraid of nothing, talking about my awesome God.