It had been a rough few days. I had advocated for a little boy once. A family stepped forward for him, traveled to China for him, and came home without him. Then, there I was, advocating for him again in a post on a Friday afternoon, after which I spent the following several days dealing with the repercussions of my words. Many were sympathetic (the oh-that-poor-boy crowd). Some wondered if my heartfelt post meant something else (the maybe-you’re-his-mom crowd). Many more simply wanted to know more (the tell-me-the-real-story crowd) mostly fueled simply by curiosity. But, there was one voice louder than the rest whose sharp tongue and accusations of misleading others was draining my energy to advocate at all. By Tuesday morning, I was emotionally tired.
As I drove to the women’s Bible Study I was committed to leading that morning as a substitute for the regular leader, I prayed aloud with Lydia dancing in the backseat to Katy Perry’s “Firework” or some other deeply spiritual song, “God, you’ve gotta speak louder than the other voices I’m hearing and give me some very clear direction here because I really don’t know what my role is. Right now, I don’t even feel like I want to advocate any more for this kid or any other because I’m just tired of everything that goes with it. Lord, show me, please, what you want me to do.”
Zechariah’s visions. That’s what we were discussing that day, definitely not your typical Bible study. Think red horses, myrtle trees, horns, measuring lines. It’s deep (strange?) stuff, but the women, whom I didn’t know, were responsive, and we were moving right along with the lesson. I wasn’t expecting anything when we were directed to several different Scriptures and told to describe the benefits of God’s presence in the lives of His people.
We read John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Some women shared what the verse meant to them, and we were about to move on. And, then, it happened; God spoke through a woman whose name I don’t even know.
I like what my version has for that verse: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Did she just say “advocate”?
Here I was at a Bible Study no less, and I had essentially already forgotten the prayer I had prayed on my commute there. But, I remembered now, and He/she had my full attention.
I love that word advocate. It’s really such an emotionally laden word. I interpret it as meaning coming alongside, fighting for me, pleading my cause when I have no voice or no way to do it on my own. It’s active—He’s active so that I don’t have to be. It reminded me of Exodus 14:14 which says: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” If He’s willing to advocate for me, it means I’m significant and I’m worth it even when everything else says I’m not.
And, STOP. Answered prayer in only….59 minutes and 45 seconds. There it was.
Yes, it’s tiring; it’s tiring by definition. Yes, it’s hard; if it were easy, there wouldn’t be a need for it. It’s messy and involved and time consuming and sometimes lands me in challenging conversations. I will sometimes want to do it and other times wanna forget all about it and put my head under a pillow and hide because I’m weak and selfish and easily blown and tossed by the wind. But, I was called to do it because that little boy on the other side of the world has no other voice, and he’s worth it simply because of who he is and who He is.