Finally, on August 7, as I was mowing the lawn, I stopped and said to the Lord, “Father, if you never let me preach again, that’s okay with me.” Immediately I felt him say to me, “Son, if you never preach again, that’s okay with me.” Then it hit me. I never again had to preach! Preaching was no longer my identity. I was a son, and as a son I could preach because I knew that was what the Father called me to do. But no longer was my preaching motivated by the fear of displeasing God if I didn’t preach or by the guilt of what might happen to those to whom I didn’t preach.
I felt the way the woman must have felt who had been bent over by a crippling disability when Jesus healed her, lifting the burden that had been on her back for eighteen years (see Luke 13:13). Suddenly I could stand up straight. As I did, everything looked different. God looked different. People looked different. I looked different. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was surprised at the image staring back at me. It was no longer a distorted image. It was a true reflection of who I was—a dearly beloved son.
The Birthright, 2010, Zondervan, 33