What A Proclamation! – Part 2
Last time, we talked about Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. It’s found in 1 Kings 18. In Elijah’s time, culture defined what God was, and one lone soldier in God’s army stood tall with his decree that God was the One True God.
WHAT see in the story is a state of lukewarm-ness. John mentions something similar in the book of Revelation. The people of Israel were being two-faced, using God when it was convenient to do so while serving themselves when they wanted to. Elijah steps out in Crazy Faith to challenge the status quo. As oftentimes happens when someone is brave enough to do this, the people remained quiet and noncommittal.
When you follow God in Crazy Faith, be prepared for times of silence.
ELIJAH THEN CHALLENGED the false prophets of Baal to prepare an offering for their god, while he would do the same. The stipulation: they could light no fire on the altar. Elijah told the people, “The God who answers with fire from heaven … He is the One True God.” All of Israel was gathered—almost 1,000 false prophets, a noncommittal crowd, and one person who has chosen to believe in the One True God. What an act of Crazy Faith!
When I was in tenth grade, there was a very similar situation in my English class. No, there weren’t hundreds of false prophets involved. In fact, there was only one: a high school English teacher. The class had been reading a literature story. I don’t remember which one it was, but it could have been something about mythology. It had a part about the reincarnation of some god. A young girl in the class had an inquisitive look on her face after the teacher read that paragraph.
“What’s the problem, Kathy?” the teacher asked.
“I’m not sure I agree with this story,” Kathy shyly responded. “What do you mean you don’t agree?”
“That’s not true stuff,” Kathy replied. “I don’t believe that.”
“Because I am a Christian.”
What? Did she really say that out loud? Granted, it was 1986, but
still. I could feel the sudden shudder in the room. She’d just brought religion into English class. Uh oh. Here it comes.
“You’re a Christian?” the teacher asked, as she laughed and shook her head in disbelief. “So you believe the Bible, then?” The teacher continued to poke fun.
“Yes, I do,” Kathy said. I could tell she was trying to put some strength behind her words.
“Well, well, does anyone else here agree with Kathy?”
You could have heard a pin drop. Many people looked down at their desks for fear of being called on. Many others laughed and smiled with the teacher. But when she asked the question, there was silence. No response. No answer. No noise, until—
“I have to say that I agree with her,” I responded quietly. I knew I had just earned myself a failing grade and would be taking this class next semester. Another year of English? Yuck.
“Oh you do, Mr. Eason,” she said. She laughed even louder.
My heart pounded. I heard the students’ laughter mingle with the teacher’s. Tears formed in Kathy’s eyes and she ducked her head, her chin rested against her chest. I knew I had a decision to make. I was just about to respond further when the teacher shouted out again.
“And I guess that story of Jonah being swallowed by the big huge fish that’s in there … you believe that too, huh?”
I could feel the conviction welling up within me. She turned her back and walked to the blackboard.
“As a matter of fact, I do. And if it said that Jonah was the one that swallowed the big fish, I would believe that too!” I said, proud of the strength in my voice, grateful that my nervousness hadn’t cracked it.
Kathy’s head lifted. Her tears stopped and her eyes met mine. A tentative smile spread across her face. At that moment, the other students who’d lowered their heads and averted their eyes sat straighter. Those who were laughing quieted.
The teacher turned around in slow motion. “Humph.” She went to her desk and sat down.
At that moment, thankfully, the bell rang, and everyone hurriedly excited the class.
As I stood to leave, Kathy grabbed my arm and said “thank you” before she slipped out of the classroom. I learned that day that it takes a lot of courage and a lot of Crazy Faith to stand against the crowd, whether the crowd is one or a thousand.
Stepping out in Crazy Faith often will often have you standing all by yourself.
Have you ever had to stand alone against the crowd?
What gave you the strength to do it?
Have you ever wanted to stand against the crowd but chicken-ed out?