Remain Faithful in Obscurity
“A voice calling in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight the path for Him’” Matthew 3:3
“Everyone who heard this wondered about it asking, “What then is this child going to be? For the Lord’s hand was with him” Luke 1:66
Good phrases connect with us not only on an academic or cognitive level but also on a personal or emotional level. I found such a phrase this week as I listened to a sermon recorded by my father from 1982. Here is the phrase, “they remained faithful in obscurity”, and it got me thinking of men and women of the Bible who fit that description besides the ones of focus in his sermon. It also got me thinking about some of us. Surely sometimes we feel like we exist in a sort of obscurity thinking ‘how much am I impacting others in the current situation’. By all the standards of the world, John the Baptist wouldn’t have been the poster man of “success”, however, God used him greatly.
John the Baptist was a man a bit different than any other. He was chosen as an instrument of God to prepare the way for Christ, our Savior. John was born to a faithful man and women well past child bearing years. He wore camel’s hair and ate wild locusts. His eyes must have burned with intensity as his voice rang out with conviction while he wandered the wilderness living out his mission.
John shared the gospel imbued in his spirit. He baptized followers, he confronted hypocrites, he was humble, and he was courageous. He lived in a way that seemed odd. He did things others felt scared or unqualified to do. Can we imagine him telling people that a Savior was coming, one who would fulfill the law and redeem the people of their sins? That would have been controversial.
His words still stir our spirits today: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2) Are these words live embers in our spirits ready to ignite any kindling that we put on it or are they chilled ashes piled as evidence of a once hungry spirit that has wondered from call of eternity?
In our world’s current state, these words seem to ring all the louder. All heaven and earth will shake and groan as the time of His return nears. Where will God find us when He comes looking? (Figuratively speaking, as He sees us all the time.) Will He see us remaining faithful in obscurity or will he find us drifting with the ways of the world?
People who don’t follow the secular “norm” that society has created are seen as odd, broken, or unsuccessful, but to God they are seen as faithful, honest, humble, and courageous. John the Baptists could have stayed in a town with a home, a family, a career, warm clothes, and plentiful dinner options, that’s what his society would have considered ‘normal’. God had other plans. Plans that required John to live a in a way the invited criticism and controversy, but he was faithful in his obscurity.
Sometimes we feel like we exist in obscurity- anonymity, unimportance or namelessness. God always has a plan, and our destiny is not to gain fame or grandeur for ourselves. Our mission is to make His name known to a hurting and broken world. Our mission is to be ambassadors of light, sharing truth with souls cloaked in darkness. Our lives are supposed to be lifelines for those treading a sea of sin.
Wherever we are, whatever God was called our hands to do, we must remain faithful. He sees our faithfulness in obscurity because he designed that route for us in advance. Hallelujah that the King of Kings sees us in all manners, phases, chapters, and locations.
“ He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” Luke 1: 14-15
Judith Cooley teaches Language Arts and Drama. Follow her Facebook page @pondervotional for more encouragement.