As someone with an electrical engineering background, reluctance is something I think of a little differently. It’s the magnetic equivalent of electrical resistance (yes, I know, really helpful) and is most often associated with electric motors, transformers and shielding around magnetically noisy circuits like loudspeakers. It may seem conceptually challenging, but it’s really not that much different from the more familiar definitions.
I also sometimes see (the more familiar) reluctance, particularly when I see dogs distracted by an intensely interesting smell or the sudden and frantic dash of a squirrel. The person wants to go one way, but the dog does not. In fact, the dog really really really wants to go in a completely different direction, right now. The leash goes taut and in the end, the dog and person continue together, perhaps with one of them looking back with an unmistakable mix of frustration, longing, disappointment and regret.
This past week, my wife and I put “Try Praying” yard signs up in our yard, one in the front, and one in the back. Here’s the one in the front.
Now, some of you might not feel the reluctance here, but for me, as a thinking introvert, I do. I am naturally reluctant to attract attention, and I avoid confrontation, perhaps sometimes too much so. Putting an overtly Christian sign in my yard definitely gets me feeling reluctant. I find myself defensive, sinking into internal debate. Even if this doesn’t provoke hard feelings or an argument, will it do any good? This is my big problem with outreach; I struggle to believe that proclaiming the Gospel isn’t just standing alone in an empty desert, shouting into the wind.
But I feel God tugging the leash. I feel His prompting to be faithful, to act like I believe He is able to change people’s hearts and lives. I feel the Holy Spirit squeezing my heart, poking at my conscience, and slowly, with some longing looks back, I put the signs in my yard.
There are so many good examples from Scripture. In the book of Genesis, Moses tells God that he can’t speak well enough to face Pharoah alone. In the book of Judges, Gideon asks God over and over to confirm God’s calling in Gideon’s life to save the Israelites from their oppressors. Jonah flat out tries to run off, knowing God and yet still thinking that it’s possible to hide from Him. And Peter, in fear and reluctance, denies knowing Christ three times. It doesn’t make reluctance right, but it is good to see that God still loves and uses the reluctant. He is patient, working in us to work through us. Yes, we have to step back into the direction He wants to go. We have to leave our fears and longings behind and follow Him. But then… wow. We get to see Him at work, powerful, amazing and incomprehensibly God. So good!
So, be strong and courageous. Don’t turn to the left or the right. As the Holy Spirit prompts, follow God’s lead in your life and let’s see what happens!
Tim Raymund, Elder