I met Tabitha in a blogging group online. I was immediately drawn to her genuine attitude and practical approaches to writing. She is one of those writer chicks I want to be like when I grow up. She has a rad Christian book series out that she’ll love to talk about with you if you ask. I really have enjoyed seeing her awesome support of other aspiring writers and I am thrilled to have her guest posting today on my little slice of the blogging world.
First published at tabithacaplinger.com on November, 19, 2015
As I write this I am sitting in the surgical waiting area of a local hospital. My husband is having a kidney stone removed. (I call it the demonic kidney stone that has ruined our lives, aka Steve.) That last little parentheses is me being dramatic. Obviously its not demonic and its hasn’t ruined our lives, it just felt that way. My husband and I both agree that birthing a third child would take less doctor and hospital visits than getting rid of, and I quote the ER doctor, this “rather large” kidney stone. But I’m not here to write about our misadventures with Steve the kidney stone.
I find myself sitting here, watching and listening. It’s hard not to hear snippets of other conversations in a closed space. I really don’t know anyone else’s situation, whether its life altering or just more demonic kidney stones. I hear the laughs and jokes of people trying to keep their minds off loved ones who are in the operating room. I glance at the distressed eyes of worried spouses. I notice the encouraging whispers of family members keeping each other positive.
All the while I think about how grateful I am that this is just about Steve, the kidney stone.
It could be worse. I could be sitting here because of something much more dire, infinitely more tragic and frightening. And then I think back to the woman at the urologist’s office.
I don’t know who she was. I had never met her before and will probably never see her again in my life. But I can’t forget the look in her eyes when she walked out from her appointment, headed through the waiting room on her way to wherever after her meeting with her doctor was finished. She came out of the doorway and her eyes met mine for just a brief moment. I couldn’t help but notice her tears. The look on her face was the look of a woman who had just gotten bad news. And my heart broke for this stranger.
I know nothing about her but in that moment I felt some sort of connection to her, a compassion for her hurt that tugged at my heart. I wish I had had the courage to walk up to her and ask her if she was alright and offer her at least a little something more than a compassionate smile. I wish I had not let my own fear stop me from being Jesus to her in that moment.
How many times do we let fear stop us from being Jesus to someone?
I feel like we are losing our courage. I feel like too often we cave to fear and because of this fear, people don’t see Jesus.
Jesus was brave. I don’t think he was fearless, I think he was bold and courageous in the face of fear. After all, He did pray and ask God to ‘take this cup’ from Him before his arrest. That sounds like fear to me.
Fear never stopped Him.
Not fear of rejection.
Not fear of persecution.
Not fear of death.
We don’t have to let it stop us either.
Trust me, I am afraid of things. I am afraid of school shooters and terrorists and the notion of the world my children might grow up in.
But I don’t want to let fear stop me from being Jesus to whomever is placed in front of me.
I also don’t want to confuse bravery and boldness with argumentative social media political rhetoric. (Yes, there I said it.) We are very good at hiding behind keyboards to debate politics in the name of Christianity but at the cost of the Gospel. (Yes, I went there too.)
Jesus does not need you to defend Him. He doesn’t need you to argue His Word. He and His word are quite capable of doing the work only they can do anyway. What Jesus needs is for us to love people. To tell them His story and to live it like we actually believe it. Not just when it comes to politics (being Christian, the Gospel, is much bigger than American politics) but when it comes to actions. Even when those actions might cost us something. Even when they are terrifying.
Whether it’s asking a stranger if they are okay or giving a refugee a safe haven.
Maybe it’s reaching out to a neighbor or the homeless, watching our attitude, showing grace even when we disagree…I could go on but I will let you fill in the blank yourself.
My life could be a lot scarier right now. I could be dealing with more than evil Steve the kidney stone. I could have come home to lose my spouse to a burglar. I could have a child fighting cancer. I could be mourning a loved one who never came home from that Paris concert or the airport in Brussels or that park in Pakistan. I could have lost everything because of an enemy none of us want to win.
Scarier than all of those things to me is the idea that Jesus wanted me to be something, do something, and I missed Him because I was afraid. That I let my own comfort become more important than His Kingdom.
Jim Elliot once said, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He was willing to go into death for the chance to reach someone with the Gospel. Maybe you are called to go. Maybe you are called to change. Maybe you are called to welcome. Maybe we are all called to sacrifice. Let’s be brave.
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 ESV
Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”
When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.
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