God rarely tells me what he’s doing.
But he’s always ready to show me what he wants me to do.
Some years back I landed an invitation-only spot in a workshop at CBS. It was peopled by up-and-coming comedy writers and would serve as a think tank for new TV sit-coms. Yes, I was excited. Like, diarrhea excited.
I lived an hour away, so I did my morning God-talk on the freeway en route. One morning several weeks in, I asked God what He wanted me to do.
Almost instantly I sensed that he wanted me to tell my new R-rated friends about Him. Being a man of faith, I replied, “No. What else you got?” Silence. (He does that a lot.) “OK,” I exhaled, “but if you want me to talk to a room full of worldly, anti-religious people, You’re going to have to make it happen, because I have no clue where to start.”
By the time I got to CBS I’d forgotten about the conversation. Then, about an hour in, the workshop leader Joel said, “Your own life is the best place to look for ideas, so…” He scanned the room. “Mitch, get up and talk about what’s been going in your life.”
I jogged to the stage, rifling my memory as my sneakers hit the platform.
“First thing that pops into your head,” Joel shouted. “Go!”
“Uh…” I began. “Well, my eight year old daughter Mandy has been in this tug-of-war between her nerd friends and the mean chicks who say they’ll let her be one of them if she rejects the nerds. She wants so bad to be cool, but she has this pure heart, and she doesn’t really want to be that kind of person. And I don’t want her to be like that, either.”
I started to snuffle.
“Good!” Joel yelled. “If it matters to you, it’ll matter to the audience! So, what do you want her to be like?”
My eyes began to leak. And then the words escaped from my mouth, and there was no way to vacuum them back in:
“I want her to be like Jesus.”
This is the moment I get asked to leave, I thought.
To my astonishment, Joel, the secular Jew from Brooklyn, said between sobs, “Beautiful, Mitch, just beautiful!” Then he croaked to the rest of the room, “From the heart, people—that’s where real stories come from!”
We broke for coffee. I was surrounded by wet-eyed workshoppers. Several timidly tight-lipped Jesus followers thanked me for having the courage to boldly share my faith (boldly, hah!). An angry agnostic punched me in the arm and said, “Damn. You made me cry,” and then hugged me.
No, he doesn’t often tell me what he’s doing, but he’s always ready to tell me what he wants me to do. And I’m guessing it’ll be the same for you.
So don’t say I didn’t warn you.