In the faith on a secret mission


In these present days of darkness, when sanctity of human life is hanging in the balance and godly morals are questioned, we shake our head and wonder, how did we get here?
We need some heavy-lifting prayers spoken over this nation. There are brothers and sisters in the faith who are doing just that. They are hidden Christians.
This prayer group, which I am a part of, spoke about fasting. As they talked, it felt like I was being invited on a rollercoaster ride. I pumped the brakes and geared down. I wasn’t standing in front of a congregation singing hallelujah, but nevertheless, I was asked to line up with what I knew to be the truth. There is power in prayer and fasting.
The rubber had just met the road. Was I in or out? Am I up to all this heavy lifting? Could I do it? Do I want to do it? Do I need to be on this ride?
For years, we were told we needed to profess our faith, tell the world we are Christians. That’s all good, but what if you’re a secret Christian who is on a secret mission?
In my Greek class, we delved into secret people of the faith. There are many in the Bible. Nicodemus was one of them. He was questioned if he believed when he defended Jesus at the cross. I thought he came at night because he was scared. My teacher quickly corrected me. It doesn’t say he was scared, it says he came at night.
We don’t know why he came at night. Maybe he was busy with his day job. Possibly, as one of the rulers of the Pharisees, his position and where he was best used might have kept him quiet. How often we judge our brothers and sisters in the faith, not knowing what has been required of them.
Everyone agreed to fast a certain time of the week. With sweaty palms, feeling my throat cut, even before I missed a meal, I said, “It’s going to be a long stretch. How long are you thinking of doing this?”
I went to bed and in the night hours my logic checked in. I calculated how many meals I would miss, one, two or three? I surmised I needed breakfast or I could faint. I needed lunch for brainpower. Dinner was up for grabs.
The next morning I had food on my mind and wasn’t sure what I should do before the next evening when we would meet online for prayer. I told the family what I was doing.
My son said, “Why are you obsessing about food? Let it go.”
“I can’t. I can’t let down the group. If they ask me if I’m fasting, I can’t lie to them.”
My daughter said, “Just ask God. He’ll tell you what he wants you to do.”
My Sweet Al reminded me of one of our friends who told everyone he was fasting. Anytime we saw him, he would say, “I’m fasting.”
Al said, “Jim always made me mad. That’s not the way to do it. It’s something that is between God and a person and it is done in secret. No one is supposed to advertise it.”
I don’t know why Jim had to tell everyone. Maybe some people live out loud. I am one of them. We talk about everything we do. Al read Jim as bragging. I saw him processing.
Al said I was like Jim.
Oh my gosh! Really? I had to set my Sweet Al straight. “The reason I am telling you what our group is doing is so you will know. Since you and I are of the same household, you will think there is something wrong with me if I miss a meal. I’m trying to figure out how many meals I need to forgo.”
And another thing, I reminded my Sweet Al. I can’t compute quiet. When I had an encounter with God, I came out of the baptism waters shouting. It might’ve been OK in a Pentecostal church, but it was a Baptist church. You might suspect, I became an odd duck. I was told many times to tone down Jesus. A man told me I was too zealous for God.
Really? I told him I couldn’t help myself. God touched me and I want to shout it from the mountaintop. I’m still shouting from the mountaintop and still making people uncomfortable. So, today, I’m talking about fasting. According to Al, it’s supposed to be a secret thing. Maybe I’m breaking a rule. I’ll just have to plead for grace over my misgivings.
There are many kinds of Christians who work in secret. Some of them are the heavy-duty prayer warriors who are carrying the load on their shoulders. They are not getting the accolades, praise and attention, but they continue to hit the carpet on their knees in secret. We will never hear about what they have done.
I have a friend who prays all the time. She came to our artists’ and writers’ retreats and while the meetings were going on, she walked around the balcony of the meeting room. It made people antsy and they asked what she was doing. They said she was like a ghost. I told them, “She’s praying. Leave her alone. I want her here.”
Brushstroke: We are so foolish to think we can judge another human being. We have no idea what passes between the heart of man and his God. Only God knows a man’s worth. Maybe that man has been called to be a secret Christian on a secret mission.