Whispers and Roars
‘The weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.’ -1 Cor. 1:25
Feverish and weary, I prepped for a men’s conference in Lithuania during a long flight. My only clear thought: men destined to be lions reduced to domestic fat cats by vermin (worldly sorrow, porn, drugs, apathy) so that rats ruled the cats. ‘Jesus, rouse Your lions!’ I prayed as a strike against my sickness.
Not a new metaphor for me but hopefully a helpful one for Eastern Europe. By the time I launched the first of four talks and ministry times, my cold had descended throat-ward. I couldn’t speak. My interpreter couldn’t hear me. I whispered the line again. When the Spirit surged, my voice crescendoed then cracked like a teen enduring puberty.
Pinch me. Please.
This lion didn’t roar. I drew strength from the Eucharist, vintage Vineyard songs, and a half-sized figure of Christ-Crucified lowered from the ceiling alongside me as I spoke. Just one look at Him who descended into this fat cat so I could skewer rats cheered me on.
During a break I received a message from Annette that an eye exam weakened her vision, causing her to drive blindly through a fierce storm. Shook her up. Helpless, 5000 miles away, all I could do was call and croak a prayer to Aslan: ‘Move on behalf of the one I love most!’ He did. He does.
I didn’t have to yell. He hears and acts anyway. I whispered the marvels of His mercy: stops and fresh starts, aspirations and humiliations, falling, yes, but always forward. He won over a bunch of Euro-cats wanting to be lions, reduced to Him to make it so.
I love being a guy but I don’t much love men’s gigs: oft low on thought, a tad misogynistic, and high on adrenal energy that fades once home. I’m more Jesus-freak than G.I. Joe and this freak wants Reality. We too readily mistake traditions of men for God’s; maybe it helped to lose my voice so His could be amplified.
Aslan roared. Like Elijah poured out after he incinerated the prophets of Baal, I was reduced to the still small voice that rescued Elijah from suicidal thoughts (1 Kgs 18-19). ‘Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit’ (Zech. 4:6). He can crank up the volume any way He wants.