When Jesus called those first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James, and John (Matthew 4:18-23), their reaction is truly amazing. They “immediately” obeyed the Lord, dropped everything, and followed him. There are certainly many examples of people “immediately” obeying the Lord. Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree comes to mind when Jesus tells him to “come down out of that tree” and he “immediately” comes down.
The opposite is also true. We find many examples of people who decided to hide from God and to not “immediately” obey him. The Holy Prophet Jonah was one of those. When God tells him to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent of their evil ways, Jonah thinks he can ignore that request and hide from God by taking a ship the total opposite direction from Nineveh. That decision almost cost the lives of everyone on that ship until Jonah confessed his sin and was thrown overboard. You will recall the rest of that story, how once God got his attention, Jonah did obey.
In our daily lives, God may call us to give up certainly behaviors and actions or to begin doing something different. He might ask that we refrain from gossiping when we are talking with certain people or he might ask us to actually talk with our neighbor to see how they are doing rather than just waving. Those are simple examples and He may ask us to do (or not do) something much more difficult. Depending on what the Lord might ask of us, we can either be “immediately” Christians or we can decide to “hide” from Him.
I would love to hear “Fr. Stephen immediately obeyed the Lord.” But the truth is, I am more like the Prophet Jonah at times. Of course, it is completely ridiculous to try to “hide” from the Lord. God is everywhere and fills all things, so where could we possibly hide? Take a good look at the photo of the bear. That is how we must look to God when we decide to “hide” from Him. I love that photo because it reminds me of that great truth.
The choice is our choice each and every day: Am I going to be an “Immediately” Christian or one that tries to ignore the Lord and “hide” from His guidance in my life?