For any readers under the age of, say 40, you may not remember Art Linkletter. He hosted a kind of "variety talk show" on TV back in the 50's and 60's. On some shows, he would sit and have little "interview talks" with young kids. It may be where we got the saying: "Kids say the darndest things!"
A friend of mine was telling me about a clip of the show he found on the internet. In it, Linkletter was asking kids to explain what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden...(in today's world, this show would have been censored, or cancelled altogether)!
Anyway, one little girl gave one great big answer! She said "The devil put Adam and Eve under an evil spell and made them eat some apples that God told them not to eat!" In his usual manner, surprise on his face, Linkletter asked "really, well then what happened?"
The little story teller continued "well God got very mad at them and sent them to hell! But later, He just transferred them to Los Angeles..."
Obviously, we all know that isn't exactly the way the story goes; although the mention of "hell and Los Angeles in the same sentence may be somewhat accurate!" But, there is a "story within her story" from which we might make a spiritual application.
Think about this for a minute. What if, instead of DOING something God told us not to do, we wouldn't do something which He was CALLING us to do? What if the reason we didn't respond to Him was because we were too nervous or scared to do what He asked of us?
"But He's an understanding God" we tell ourselves. "He wouldn't ask us to do something we were afraid to do; that would be kind of cruel...right?" Would it be cruel, really? If that's our thinking, we're "barking up the wrong tree!"
One thing God ISN'T, is cruel! He's not mean, nor hateful, nor anything like that. Such things are not even a part of His nature...
One thing our God is, however, is "challenging." I've used this old quote before: "The Lord will take us from wherever He finds us, but He loves us too much to leave us there!" As Christians, we learn that God expects us to grow in the faith and maturity of His word and will. He wants us to be ready for ever increasing works of faithful service to Him.
Each believer has special gifts from God. Some of these are: teaching, preaching, leading prayer, serving others, encouraging others, giving (money or time) to people, leadership, and showing Godly mercy (see Romans 12: 6-8).
Some of these works may make us "uncomfortable," so we don't want to do them. However, God may want us to do them anyway! Not because He wants us to suffer failure or embarrassment, but because He wants us to discover talents which we may not know we have! In this way, we will grow in the Lord while helping others to do the same! That's what His work through us is all about...
Yes, it can be hard to "open" ourselves up to new experiences like this. But we need to at least try because God is asking us to. Afterall, we should want to be "all we can be" for God; He is always everything He can be to us!
Besides, we don't want to be sent to "Los Angeles" do we? (Just kidding, Angelinos...)