When the World Thinks Your King is a Fraud

April 18, 2011 | 31 comments

It was about eight years ago when they came for a weekend visit. They were old friends from my newspaper days. We hugged at the front door, and they kicked off their shoes. Scott hefted the suitcases to the spare bedroom, and we all gathered around the wooden oval table to reminisce.

We talked about the things that consumed our lives, then and now. Conversations about news and editors soon merged to discussions of diapers and formula brands. For a little while, we danced around the elephant in the room: Faith.

He was a reporter, the other man at the table. And elephants eventually get addressed when a reporter comes around. He pointed to the magnet on the refrigerator, the one with the drawing of Jesus: a King’s head bowed under the searing pain of a thorny crown. The magnet was a gift from the pastor of my childhood church.

“What is up with that?” my old colleague asked, finger jabbing. “Rather grotesque and morbid, don’t you think?”

I felt words begin to form, in a deep place, and they rose up all hot in the throat. But they were flung back down and lost, and I just groped. Those few words I found seemed garbled, as if they were pushing through a curtain.

And I’m thinking, “I’m a words girl, and I’m a Word girl, too. Why can’t I find the words to explain what’s most important now? God, help me!”

I wondered if the other couple found my stammering response more of an apology than a confession of my faith. I said this: “He’s my King, and I love Him.”

That’s it? All I could muster up were seven words for the One who died for me?

On this side of the screen, if you were here right now, you’d see the long pause. I’m stammering again, groping for words now, like I did then. Typing, then deleting. And typing again. Words fail.

You’d see tears, too. I can’t NOT write about the cross without tears — not on Holy Week, not on any week. I just can’t.

For a long time, when I recalled that moment with the Jesus magnet, I felt like an evangelical failure, like other Christians might say, “That’s all you got, Jennifer? You blew your big chance to share the Gospel.”

But, you know what? I had a long talk with God this morning, and I got the feeling that I said the most important words of all. I also got the sense that more than my words, God desires a life of witness — which is the best Anti-Fraud Protection in a world that has long accused my King of being a fake.

My King wants me to live out loud, so that even when words get stuck in the throat, there’s no mistaking Who I belong to.

“The simplest of all love songs

I want to bring to You

So I’ll let my words be few

Jesus, I am so in love with you.”

– Phillips, Craig and Dean

by | April 18, 2011 | 31 comments


  1. Deb

    You said "God desires a life of witness…"
    The teacher for our adult Sunday School class says "God doesn't need a lawyer … He needs a witness." You witnessed that day not only in your words, but in your actions also.

  2. Duane Scott

    Determining to live a life filled with Anti-Fraud protection… a life full of Him.

    In the most simple way I can, I too confess.

    "I love Jesus."

  3. patty

    Better a humble stammering witness than a reluctant one. I've been both throughout the years and the stammering is much easier to live with…
    Praying and knowing you'll be a bold witness this week to each person Jesus puts in front of you.
    Love you & your heart…

  4. Michelle DeRusha@Graceful

    Jennifer, I think your words were incredibly brave and honest and true. It's all you needed to say, and it is far more, I suspect, than I would be stuttered out at that moment.

    Frankly, I couldn't even manage to tell a work colleague a few weeks back that my memoir was about my journey to God and faith. I garbled my words and talked circles and then back pedaled, and finally my colleague said, "I think you need to work on your elevator pitch." And we laughed, because she was right. And more importantly, I realized, I needed to work on my God pitch, because when it came right down to it, I was embarrassed to admit my God story.

  5. Taylor

    You'll never guess what happened to me yesterday! I was standing on a cliff looking out across the beach at the ocean. I had my camera around my neck and my mom at my side. The sun was just beginning to set as my mom pointed to something on the sand. "Hey, look at that stick!" she said. I looked down, and there lying on the sand of a beautiful California beach was a stick. A Y shaped stick! I just happened to be lying for me to see. I believe it was a reminder from God that he is with me all the time, which is something that I have struggled with recently.

    Thank you Jesus for showing me you!

  6. Chris Godfredsen

    Here is a Reformer about to go Franciscan on you, sister: "Preach the gospel always and when necessary, use words." St. Francis of Assisi

    Those seven words were the words God wanted from you in that moment; and the words he loves to hear today.

    The words of St. Francis are a true depiction of your life; plus you bless us with the words the Word gives you now and then, as well!

  7. Lori

    Amen and Amen!
    Keep up the God work.

  8. Megan Willome

    This story is why you're such a precious person, Jennifer. Your loving heart for your Savior shines forth every week, not just Holy Week.
    I think your seven words were perfect.

  9. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    i have so been there my friend and i love how God gives us the words when we just are at a loss.

    I want ALL of Him – all of my King.
    He's my King and I love Him!!

  10. David Rupert

    They just don't understand that we have "another King." they never have. They never will. We don't need excuses.

  11. Trish

    I really love your blog. I found it by googling "passover" Your posts are beautiful 🙂


  12. jaybird7

    Jennifer, you've decided you are not only going to love this King – but you've also chosen to work for him and with him.

    You are being faithful to your Employer. Don't let the Deceiver tell you otherwise.

  13. Joan Davis

    Your words were perfect, and I'm sure gave your friend reason to pause…if not then, later as he recalled them. But you are also right. How we life our lives is a wonderful witness, for as you know, often actions speak louder than words.

    He is my King and I love Him, too!


  14. S. Etole

    Love notes are often short but very effective …

  15. Linda

    I think that the most effective words are those said simply and often silently.
    I think your answer was perfect Jennifer. What more can we say but that we love Him?
    Somehow they bring tears and warm a place in our hearts reserved especially for Him.

  16. deanna

    Perhaps your friends weren't reacting to how you expressed your faith nearly as much as that you expressed faith in Christ. A picture, a word, a deed; it doesn't take much to show that you're completely invested in Him. I think that's what we're called to, and to some it will be quite offensive, at least at first.

  17. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    I think your words were perfect.

  18. Lyla Lindquist

    See, this is what I love. A words girl and a Word girl left without words at the foot of the Cross. That's no indictment. That's really knowing and really loving.

    He's not looking for an eloquent apologetic. You could have filled a bucket with all kinds of words that night. But you didn't. You gave him the ones that were in your heart, in your throat, and far more honest than that bucketful may have been.

    He's my King, and I love Him.

    Would that I could always be so bold.

  19. Jennifer

    I needed these words today, Jennifer. I've been remembering a friend lately–and feeling a total sense of failure at not knowing enough about God back then to know what to say to him to make a difference. To my knowledge, ge still does not know the Lord, and I have no way of contact. Thank you for this.

  20. lynnmosher

    Jennifer, your words were perfect. and better these than nothing at all. May your words sink into his heart and the perfect planted seeds. Blessings to you!

  21. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Hi friends,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments here, and your reminder that God isn't looking at our "eloquence" but at our hearts.

    You're all such a blessing to me. Your comments make me think and make me grow, and I am grateful for each of you.

    (((Group Hug)))

  22. nance marie

    good words.

  23. Rose

    I think your response was great. Our pastor always tells us the one with the experience is never at the mercy of the one with the question. Seems you proved it very well.

  24. Kelly Sauer

    "God desires a life of witness — which is the best Anti-Fraud Protection in a world that has long accused my King of being a fake.
    My King wants me to live out loud, so that even when words get stuck in the throat, there's no mistaking Who I belong to."

    Yes, yes, yes.

  25. Anne

    This is so beautiful! I understand what you mean about the weeping–that's me. I ask myself every time we go to worship why I wear any makeup because I just end of weeping when I think about Him. This was precious.

  26. elaine @ peace for the journey

    I think you lived that moment well!

    Praying that we all have the "words" to speak the courage of our convictions when asked the reason for the hope that we hold in our hearts. It's not an easy thing, but it's certainly the best thing.

    Keep to it. Blessed Easter walk to you and yours.


  27. Missie

    I don't think you blew it at all. I think you planted a seed that God can use. Your life screams Jesus and that is what he calls us to do!

  28. alicia

    I think that we sometimes say so much more in saying less. Your friend didn't need a lecture…just the truth.

    I stammer and stumble often, this is a beautiful reminder that God is enough, He will use us no matter how much we "fail"

  29. Connie@raise your eyes

    "that I said the most important words of all."…yes you did…they were the words that came bursting from a heart that wouldn't be silenced…well done!

  30. 3boymomma

    This is my first visit to your blog. It is beautiful and I loved what you have to say. God bless you!

  31. Karen

    You did well….AMEN.


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