When We Love Him We Obey Him
When We Love Him, We Obey Him
Have I told you the story about the lady I met in Israel? Well, I didn’t really meet her, but we connected. We connected and God used her to teach me and to change me and it only took minutes. It was amazing and I will never, ever forget this woman, her face, her smile, her hand… our connection.
I was in Jerusalem walking with a group through the Muslim quarters, heading to the site of the Pool of Bethesda. The streets were very narrow and there were cars coming from both directions. If was a standoff to see who would back up first and let the other pass. Meanwhile, our group had to smash ourselves against the walls to avoid being hit by either driver. We were there for what seemed a while just waiting for someone to relent. As I stood, flattened against the wall, not understanding what either was shouting, hoping no one turned to violence, wishing they would just let the other pass, a green door opened directly across from me.
As the door opened, I immediately made eye contact with a precious woman. She looked longingly into my eyes. I waved a little wave as if she were a child. I was mesmerized and could not take my eyes off of her. Neither of us looked at anyone else – it was as if we could read each other and suddenly knew one another. She held out her hand as if to ask for money and I immediately felt a stirring… a prompting. It was unusual – I don’t dole out money to every homeless or needy person I see – but something within pressed me to go to her. At that moment, the cars moved and my group started walking. I smiled and walked away.
As I walked away, I was sick. Why did I just walk away? My feet kept going… step after step… but my mind was racing… Lord, that was You – it was the Holy Spirit stirring me, prompting me, pressing on me and I just walked away. God, forgive me. I am so sorry. Why did I walk away? I failed you. I disobeyed you. Please God, give me another chance. I was sickened by my choice.
We made it to the Pool of Bethesda. You remember the story… It was after the feast of Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. At the Pool of Bethesda there was a great multitude of sick – blind, lame, paralyzed – waiting for the angel to stir the water so they could enter and be healed. Jesus spoke to a man who had been lame for 38 years, asking him if he wanted to be well. The man told Jesus he had no one to put him in the pool and everyone kept stepping over him. Jesus told the man to get up, take his bed, and walk. And the man did. Jesus miraculously healed this man right here on the edge of this pool. (John 5)
Here I was sitting at this site where Jesus performed a miracle and my mind was on my green door friend. I would be ready when we headed back. I got money out of my bag and put it in my pocket. I could barely pay attention to the pool, to the church we entered, the song we sang. My heart raced. Let’s go! Let’s go so I can find this woman. I need to find this woman. Finally, our Jewish tour guide was talking about our next stop along our tour. I was elated. Let’ get moving.
As we walked, I suddenly realized we were not going back the way we came. Oh no, we would not pass that green door again. My heart sank. Oh God, I am so sorry. I think that was a test for me and I completely failed You. I kept walking, following the group, catching the tears as they streamed down my face. Walking… walking… walking… moving further and further away from where we had previously passed. Praying… praying… praying… thanking God for the prompting, His presence in my life, and asking for His forgiveness and another opportunity to choose to obey Him. After all… it is our love for Him that will lead us to walk in obedience to Him and it is our obedience to Him that allows us to fellowship with Him. I just wanted another chance.
Our group turned another corner and right there sitting on a bench was that woman. What? How? I don’t know. But there she was. She was right there. We locked eyes. She stood up and smiled – we both knew. I ran – yes, like a crazy girl – I ran – laughing, crying, relieved, thankful, amazed, overjoyed. I knew I was experiencing my very own miracle. The God of second chances was giving me another chance to do what He had asked me to do. He placed her right in front of me. I reached in my pocket and placed what was there into her hand. We embraced – oh, and of course I took a selfie. This was a moment I would never forget.
If we love God, we will obey Him. Does that mean we will be perfect in our obedience? No. But, we will have a desire to submit to the Lord and be burdened when we fall short. We will obey the law of Christ which is the law of love – loving God and loving one another. We do not obey Him because we are good – we obey Him because He is good. When God opens a door, the Holy Spirit prompts us and we obey, our relationship with Jesus deepens. Isn’t that what matters most?
But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46
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