Remember the "I Can't Keep Calm" memes? At one point in time, you couldn't log into social media without seeing an "I Can't Keep Calm" meme. They were so popular! The design was plastered on t-shirts, mugs, and a variety of other paraphernalia. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I even recall it being a theme to a few people's bridal and baby showers. I'll plop an example right here for a trip down social media memory lane.
I thought the memes were cute... overkilled... but cute nonetheless. It was awesome seeing what everyone couldn't keep calm about. Seeing everyone's excitement over new promotions, houses, birthdays, babies, weddings, and more was positively refreshing and uplifting. Somethings we absolutely just can't keep calm about!
I can relate. I have always been the reserved, quiet type - an introvert. I remember riding with my granddaddy with a car full of cousins down to Florida once. When we arrived we all got out of the car, and he yelled out, "You're so quiet, I forgot you were in the car!" He kept harping on the fact that I was so quiet. He was blown away.
But it's just something about the Word of God that I can't keep quiet about. I have to speak on it. God has been too real and too good for me to keep silent. He has made His presence known to me on more occassions than I can count. I just have to tell others about this supernatural experience! It's far too good to keep to myself.
I also remember hearing my granddaddy say, "It's like fire shut up in my bones!" when he preached in the pulpit. I was a child, and I didn't know what he meant by that. I didn't know what the "it" was nor why it felt like fire... but I do now.
And he was right. It does feel like fire! That spiritual fire... that Holy Ghost fire. That fire that is sparked from indulging in the Word of God. That fire that just can't be put out. It needs an outlet. I can't keep it in.
I can't keep calm! I can't keep quiet! I have to let it out! Thus, I write.
As I read Acts 4, I saw that the disciples felt the same way when they were asked to stop preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
(Acts 4:20, KJV)
But there is a huge difference between me and the disciples. They faced persecution for their inability to keep quiet. I on the other hand, am fortunate enough to type about the goodness of Christ in the comforts of my own home. I am not in immediate danger for voicing my beliefs. But when the rulers of the city captured Peter and John, they threaten them and told them to stop preaching.
Peter and John replied that they could not help but to speak of Christ and that they ought to obey God before they obeyed man. The rulers let them go, but eventually the disciples were thrown in jail for disobeying the commands of the city officials. In the end, many of the disciples were put to death for preaching Jesus.
What can make a man not keep quiet until the point of death? What burns in his soul so deeply that he counts suffering and death worthy of his message? Well, I'll take it straight from the horse's mouth. Here's what Peter said about his stance:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16, KJV)
Peter and the disciples could not keep quiet because they saw the majesty of Christ on a first hand basis. Ain't nothing like an eye witness account! Seeing is believing, and the disciples saw way too much not to believe. Thus, they were willing to die for their beliefs. Because for them, it wasn't just a belief system, it was the absoulte truth. It was truth backed by the supporting evidence of seeing the miracles Christ performed while He was alive, witnessing Christ die on the cross, and then seeing him for 40 days straight after He died on the cross.
We know of the miraculous things Christ did. He turned water into wine. He walked on water. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. But the Bible doesn't even account for all the miracles Jesus did.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
(John 20:30-31, KJV)
He did so many stupendous miracles that the disciples had no choice but to believe. Additionally, laying down their lives meant nothing to them because they remembered what Christ told them about persecution.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matthew 5:10-12, KJV)
If they could take up their lives again in heaven, then laying down their lives here on earth was worth the price. They rejoiced when they were persecuted... no, seriously they rejoiced when they were persecuted in Acts 5:41, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name". But they rejoiced only because Christ told them to do so in Matthew 5.
I commend the disciples on their work for the Kingdom of God. They were some awesome soldiers for God. Besides seeing Jesus Himself, when I make it to heaven (Lord, please let me walk the straight path so I can make it there!) I would want to converse with some of the 12 disciples, just to hear what it was like walking with God in the flesh on earth.
But you know what makes you and I just a little bit more blessed than the disciples? They believed in God because of what they saw. Thomas only believed Christ rose after he saw the holes in Jesus's hands. But we believe in God based on what we cannot see. We believe from faith, and we are blessed for it.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
(John 20:29, KJV)
Imagine how proud Christ is of His people who can't see Him but believe in Him! Imagine how happy it makes Him that we can't keep quiet about a God we can't see. Though we can't see Him, we can hear Him. For per John 10:5, His sheep knows His voice. And when you hear His voice, you ought not keep quiet about it. You ought to tell somebody because it's like fire shut up in your bones.
Oh, yes. I am an introvert at heart. I will likely always be. But about Christ, I can't keep calm.
I can't keep still.
I can't keep quiet.
I won't keep calm.
I won't keep still.
And, I won't keep quiet.
What can turn an introvert into an extrovert? What can make a blind man see? What can make the wind and waves behave?
Jesus can. Jesus all by Himself... and I just can't keep quiet about it.