The Answer

by Jadell M. Forman

On Mondays, we’ve been considering Jesus’ question, “Can you drink the cup…?” using the cup as a metaphor for life.

An evangelist came to our county fair the summer I turned 11 years old.  At the crusade, I sat one row in front of my mom.  I was quiet but not paying attention when my mom tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you want to go up there and give your life to Jesus?”

I awoke from my daydream, saw a few people standing and walking into the aisle, and nodded, thinking, Yeah, sure.  Who wouldn’t? So, I went forward and “gave my life to Jesus.”

A few days later school started, and we were all trying to fit in.  Meredith, a girl I knew only from a 2nd grade birthday party, didn’t fit in.  She had just returned to our town from living five years in England.  She had an accent.  My girlfriends were making fun of her–something I would have readily done a year before.  But this year, I paused, weighing my newly-acquired Christian teachings against my previous pattern of being cliquey in order to remain in the popular crowd.  I asked myself a question: Do I want to be popular, or do I want to follow Jesus?

The Yeah, sure, I said when devoting myself to Jesus was easier at the crusade.

That’s what it was like for James and John when Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup that he was about to drink.  After the initial, easy yes comes many harder yeses.  Sometimes it’s an excruciating, “Only if I have to.”  In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggled with saying yes right before dying on the cross.

I think what we’re really saying yes to is, “Can I trust God?”  Author Henri Nouwen says about this trusting:

  • “It breaks through all human calculations and expectations.  It defies all our wishes to be sure in advance.  It turns our hope for a predictable future upside down and pulls down our self-invented safety devices” ( Can You Drink the Cup? p 107).

In 6th grade, I said yes again to Jesus, declining risking the scorn of my friends, choosing to be kind not cliquey.  The Holy Spirit helped me then.  He has helped me many times since.  And he’s helping me today to hold, lift, and drink the cup.

This is Jadell Forman’s final blog post for The Neighborhood Café.  She has said yes to an opportunity to return to the acreage where she grew up raising sheep, and to write her book Good Shepherd, Guide Me: Field Notes from a Shepherdess.


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5 responses to “The Answer

  1. Georgie-ann

    Sounds like a great book coming!,…but I will very much miss your thoughts here.

    When we realize the extent of the hidden dangers that accompany the world’s proffered “joy rides” — youth being especially vulnerable to not “sniffing out the empty promises” in advance and accruing disappointments thereby, including “ship-wrecked lives” — it becomes much easier to trust God as our better friend.

    Having an ongoing and steadying relationship with God in prayer, will make it easier to resist the strong tides of human persuasion and influence which will surely arise. After all, “the world” really believes “its stuff!”

    “Believing” is a very compelling force in and of itself, but “What” we believe and “Who” we believe are the most important questions of all. Is what we “believe” the truth, or a lie?

    Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

  2. Georgie-ann:

    You are right. The Who we believe is crucial. I thank God for his faithfulness even when my belief is not strong.


    Back to your roots. To finish those stories that God began all those years ago. What an awesome opportunity. I can’t wait to rad more of them. Eugene

    • Georgie-ann

      I find it strange that I never thought of this in just this way before: every time “the world” offers us an idea, tries to sell us on a point of view that ultimately might destroy us in one way or another, it is a (mini) re-enactment of satan’s offer/presentation of “the apple” to Eve. It looks/sounds “so good” or appealing. And “did God really say” that you shouldn’t have or do this?

      If we’re honest, and we know God’s Word, we already know that God has already warned us — (i.e., forbidden us) — to refrain from and avoid certain things. When we start rationalizing and “splitting hairs” between God’s Word and the modern world’s common denominator, we’re already poised on the edge of a precipice. Given the terrible results of the first apple, why do we succumb to more? Do we even think about it?

      Satan will capitalize on our ignorance. Blinded willfulness is even more difficult to handle. (I’m thinking here as a grandmotherly-type person, remembering my own youth while observing youth of today, as well.)

      I can only thank God and bless Him for His wonderful Love and Grace and enduring Salvation plan.

      Romans 5:20 “…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

      And I pray for our eyes to be opened evermore to the differences between what God, Who loves us so very much, and “the world” have to offer us. In Jesus’s most precious name, Amen.

  3. Jadell, thank you so much for being a part of the Neighborhood Cafe and sharing your insights. We’ll miss you!

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