There is a story in Eric Metaxas’ book, Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness, about a teenage girl named Joan. Most of us know her as Joan of Arc, but most of us don’t actually know her story. I recently sat around with some new friends talking about different bios from the book and I couldn’t help but share my takeaway from the life of this teenage farm girl.
God spoke very specifically to Joan and she was brave enough to obey. As God spoke, she took a step of obedience, and God did what He said He was going to do. As I read her story of meeting with royalty, leading the French army, and often going against the advise of her family, I couldn’t help but think of my teenager.
Ever since Alex Harmon gave his life to Jesus, I have wrestled.
The Holy Spirit dwells in Alex Harmon.
The Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in Alex Harmon.
The Holy Spirit has the ability to speak to, in, and through Alex Harmon.
How will Alex Harmon ever learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit if my Mom voice is the loudest voice in his life?
The Holy Spirit gives Alex Harmon access to God the Father.
The Holy Spirit dispenses God’s love into Alex Harmon’s heart.
The Holy Spirit reveals the mystery of God to Alex Harmon.
Even when my Mom voice is pointing Alex Harmon Jesus, I often need to quiet down because through the Holy Spirit, he has direct access to God!
Like Joan of Arc, I want Alex Harmon to hear the still, small voice of God and I want him to be brave enough to obey it! Which is why I wrestle. I have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice in my life so I can partner with Him in parenting Alex Harmon. I want to help point him to Jesus, not be an obstacle for him to trip over as the Holy Spirit tries to lead him.
If you follow Joan’s life to the very end, you find a young woman who dedicated her life to obeying the voice of God. It cost her everything. She was burned at the stake, only later to be recognized as innocent. While reading the end of her story, my mind raced to a story in the Bible about a man named John. He was often referred to as John the Baptist or John the Baptizer. He spent his life preparing for the coming of Jesus. He spoke truth about who Jesus was and baptized believers in the Jordan River. John committed his whole life to pointing people to Jesus. In Matthew 11, we find John in prison, about to be beheaded.
John sends word to Jesus saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Basically, John is asking Jesus…
Do you know where I am?
Do you know what is about to happen to me?
Are you coming for me?
And Jesus sends word back to John, “…the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
When I read that this past year as I was studying John the Baptist, that reply made me weep. And I had the same reaction reading the end of Joan of Arc’s life.
Basically, Jesus said…
“John, I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what’s about to happen to you. Yes I am the One you have paved the way for. I heal the sick and the lame, make the deaf hear and the dead alive, but I am not coming for you. I am the rescuer and yet I am not going to rescue you. But don’t lose faith.”
John the Baptist.
I can’t wait to meet him one day.
I want to know what it was like always being the one to go before Jesus, but never be with Jesus. I want to know what it was like to send his closest friends to follow Jesus, knowing he would be alone. He knew Jesus from his mother’s womb, so when he sent word asking if He was the one, I wonder what he was feeling. I wonder why Jesus sent word back with John’s disciples before he told the crowd “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” Why didn’t John get to know that’s how Jesus felt before he died?
The reason I feel so connected to John and the reason Jesus’ reply hits me so hard is because I feel like Jesus is speaking those exact same words to my heart.
“Jackie, I know what your life looks like. I know that adding Miles to your family was hard. I know that caring for him is difficult. I know that changing diapers the rest of your life isn’t something you want to do. But I am not coming for you. I am not changing your circumstances. I am the rescuer and yet I’m not going to rescue you. But don’t lose faith.”
Hearing Jesus speak those words to my heart hurts every single time.
But it has changed me.
My prayers are forever different.
I no longer pray that Miles emotionally progresses out of the terrible two’s/three’s.
I no longer pray that Miles gets fully potty-trained.
My prayer is that, no matter what, that I will not lose faith because of Jesus.
When you live your life for Jesus, your life outlives you.
What circumstances are you walking through that makes you question the goodness of God? What situation in your life are you asking God to change? What do you need Him to rescue you from?
What if it never happens?
What if He doesn’t come through the way you think He should?
Will you still trust Him? Will you still obey?
“And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.”