Think with me for a moment on the power of two small words. I do forges a lifelong commitment. Forgive me can turn enemies to friends. So long can potentially spiral a life into a blinding season of change. Love you creates a person to whom you belong.
This week, our imaginations are being led to a field near Bethlehem, where some crusty keepers of the sheep were witness to a wonder no royalty had ever seen. In the moments following the most glorious birth announcement imaginable, I picture them sitting in silence for a bit, awestruck.
And then their silence is broken by two words:
Let’s go find that baby that we just heard about. Let’s not waste another minute on this hillside. Let’s go find that treasure!
And so they went, and they found him. Not in the way any King should be, but just as they had been told.
The shepherds’ “Let’s go” was only possible because those words had been spoken earlier. Not on a lone, forgotten hillside, but in the heavenlies.
Imagine with me as God the Father turns to God the Son, and says, “Let’s go.”
He’d been waiting for this moment, watching, grieving, rejoicing, longing. It had been years since those evening walks in the garden, and now, the time was right for the snake-crusher to appear. In the way that only the Infinite Triune can, God the Father and God the Spirit sent God the Son off to the land near Eden, and yet, because of their omnipotence and their oneness, they all remained near. Sometimes visibly swooping in like a dove, other times meeting Him in a secluded place of prayer, and always, except for that one haunting moment in history, always keeping watch.
And now, the fullness of time has come, and these two small words whirl the plan of redemption into action.
He set the pattern. The shepherds were the first to follow. Since then, all throughout Christendom, so many other faithful witnesses have followed. And now we do as well. We, the Jesus-followers of 2018.
In our line of work, we often think of these words in relation to the moment we signed up for this life overseas. And that’s a part of it, for sure. I’m pretty certain no one has had an angelic experience quite like the shepherds, but I have heard some fairly dramatic experiences of people hearing God’s invitation. And for some of us, it comes as it did for Elijah- in a whisper. A whisper so faint we could almost miss it.
I remember the morning I heard the whisper. I was in my living room, early in the morning, preparing for a day in my classroom. For months I had been considering an offer to join a work overseas. And that morning, I knew. It was nothing loud, flashy, or sensational, I just knew. Like a warmth coming over me, as if God was saying “I know this is something you’ve been wanting to do. Let’s go.”
Funny how I thought that would be the biggest, the hardest “Let’s go” I’d hear. And certainly, it has been the most dramatic. Moving continents is not something you can sneak into an afternoon plan.
But sometimes, when my heart is drawn to my neighbor across the street and I hear him say “Let’s go”, that seems equally hard to obey. Or when I’m tired and I just want to be alone, but I feel Him asking me to engage in relationship with the people in front of me. Or when I’m inching away from a teammate and He invites me to move back towards His child.
These little invitations, they can be hard.
When the shepherds responded, they found the baby, just as they had been promised. Yet wildly different from what they would have imagined for a king. I think our stories could all be pretty similar to that. Wildly different, yet as promised. And we leave richer for following.
For we have Him. The first one to go and the one who goes with us.
So, let’s go.
How have you heard “Let’s go” this year? How has your life been richer for following His invitation?