Help Me to Say “Yes”

I am afraid of saying ‘Yes,’ Lord.
Where will you take me?
I am afraid of drawing the longer straw,
I am afraid of signing my name to an unread agreement,
I am afraid of the ‘yes’ that entails other ‘yeses.’
And yet I am not at peace.
You pursue me, Lord, you besiege me.
I seek out the din for fear of hearing you,
    but in a moment of silence you slip through.
I turn from the road, for I have caught sight of you,
    but at the end of the path you are there awaiting me.
Where shall I hide?
I meet you everywhere.
Is it then impossible to escape you?

These are the opening lines of a prayer written by Michel Quoist, a French Catholic priest, author and theologian who lived during the last century. A friend shared it with our small group and when she read it, I immediately thought about the many candidates for ordained ministry who have shared these words and sentiments as part of their call story. Many say that it took years for them to finally respond to God with the big ‘yes.’

But, the ‘yes’ is not always a big one like, “YES, I’ll go to seminary to become a minister!” or “YES, I’ll leave home to be a missionary in a far away place!” I think so often we need help saying the little ‘yeses’ each day just as much. How often do we avoid offering a helping hand to our neighbor because we are “afraid of the ‘yes’ that entails other ‘yeses?’ How often do we “turn from the road” after catching sight of God? I fear there are far too many days when “I meet you everywhere” with a ready ‘NO’ response on my lips.

“Is it then impossible to escape you?” I think it is possible to keep running away, avoiding, hiding from God. But, as the prayer says, when I do, “I am not at peace.” 

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