We often say that a couple is pregnant together. So, as God knitted my first son in the womb, I tried to be pregnant too.
But ultimately, my wife Barb was the one who lugged around the 30-pound "fanny pack" and had to suffer through my lame coaching. (I thought Lamaze was a novel about French peasants.)
Despite my efforts, at eight o'clock on the eighth day of the month, my eight-pound son popped out. Seeing his purple, puckered head appear in the doctor's hands, I laughed instantly at the peculiar sight. However, when my calling finally sank in -- my calling to be a father -- I felt uneasy. I would wonder every day -- and to this day -- whether I was up to the task.
Lately, I've been thinking about how we respond when God calls us and how God expects us to respond.
The Old Testament prophets soon came to mind, like Jeremiah and Moses. When God called the prophet Jeremiah into service, he promptly protested, "I know not how to speak; I am too young" (Jeremiah 1:6).
Jeremiah didn't think he could do the job. Or maybe he didn't want to.
In Exodus, as Moses trembled before the burning bush, God called him to lead the Jews. But Moses first complained, "Who am I ... ?" He later whined, "but I am slow of speech and tongue." Finally, Moses cried, "If you please, Lord, send someone else!" (Exodus 3:11-4:13)
Send someone else. I am too young. I am too old. I am too clumsy. How many times have I said that before?
In contrast, when Jesus began his ministry, he courageously declared himself as the fulfillment of prophesy before the entire synagogue. This claim by a local boy so infuriated the blind and prideful crowd that they tried to throw him off a cliff. (Luke 4:21-30)
Such is the difference between how we respond when God calls and the response God expects. Jesus' response was total: total trust, total faith, total alignment of his will with God's.
In contrast, I tend to identify with the Jews in the synagogue. When I hear something I don't want to hear or God calls me at an inconvenient time to do an inconvenient task, my fear and lack of faith stand in the way.
The psalmist encourages me: "for you are my rock and fortress." And again: "You are my hope, Lord; my trust, God, from my youth" (Psalm 71:3 and 71:5).
If only I had such faith. If only the psalm described my response to God's call -- the call to be Christlike, to spread the Good News as father, husband, co-worker, friend.
Yet, in spite of us, God's will overcomes. Even in our scattered bustle, our chaotic din, our messy make-believe, answered prayers and holy souls, living and dead, reflect inescapable reality: God never sleeps, never takes a holiday, never separates himself from his creation.
Encouraged by their witness, I press on.
-- Daniel Sisk is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.