At fifteen I was not interested in how to be a fool for God. I felt foolish and awkward enough in my own skin at that age! None-the-less the glove of challenge fell at my feet.
1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.”
On the sports field, my voice resonated above everyone else as I encouraged my fellow hockey players to move forward and score. However, in the classroom, it remained dormant for fear of making a mistake.
Once inside, looking everywhere else other than at the teacher to avoid eye contact, I longed for anonymity.
My most significant achievement was a one-line sentence about Sheep Farming in New Zealand. The title of the essay “Why are There so Many Sheep in New Zealand?” and my answer “Because there are a lot of sheep”, threw me into the spotlight. I hadn’t deliberately failed the homework attempt. Back in the early 70’s, with only public transport to get to and fro from school meant the library became inaccessible. I arrived home after it closed!
Not doing my homework didn’t save me from punishment. It put me further up the rankings as I failed to attend my detention. My choices being, stay, miss the two buses and walk the 6 miles home or get the bus and explain why I hadn’t remained at school. I chose the latter. I couldn’t face my panic-stricken mother whose anxiety by then would have equaled a volcanic eruption if I’d been late.
To show my willingness to accept responsibility for my failure, I volunteered to read the Bible text at the next assembly. I needed the power of God to help my slow reading.
1 Corinthians 2:1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.”
How to be a fool for God
Standing at the front of the hall, I physically shook, desperate for the floor to open and swallow me. As a help, I used my finger to follow the text. Tears welled up as the problematic words tortured me. Yes, there were sniggers. But I determined to see the reading through. If God could take ridicule so could I.
After assembly, a teacher pulled me to the side. He smiled and congratulated me on my thoughtful delivery. I stood shocked. Had he not heard me stumble and fall over the words? He told me to pay no heed to the foolishness of the other students and to read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
From that day, I found my youthful calling and learned how to be a fool for God. When others jeered at me for doing the readings, I shrugged, knowing that they did not dare to do so themselves—-let alone show any vulnerability.
I continued to be awkward in social situations and stayed the ‘naughty girl’ for not managing to do my homework. Fortunately today, there are many aides to negate this for school students.
With God at my side, I slowly accepted Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
God did not cure my reading difficulties but instead, He showed me a way forward.
In what areas are you vulnerable? Have you been a fool for God?