God puts up with me.
That may come as a real shock, considering I’m such a sterling example of one of His kids. Don’t I routinely read my Bible? Am I not conscientious in trying to live my days according to what it teaches? Do I not consistently reach out to those who are hurting, making time to listen and care and pray and encourage? Don’t I make it a habit to worship with my friends and loved ones? And sing? Pray? Teach?
Check, check and check plus four. See? Perfect number. 7. Ta-da-a-a!
If Heaven had one of those display walls full of bins of novelty-theme t-shirts like Walmart, I’m sure there’d be one there with my likeness on it. Hm. How to label it. “BE A DANLY MAN!” No, wait– “AIN’T THIS JUST DAN-D?” No, see my middle name’s. . .
Seriously. God puts up with me. The truth is that despite all my attempts to do and be the right thing, I’m mighty adept at messing that up. All it takes is for me in my august wisdom to be talking when I should be listening.
I’ve noticed that God never interrupts my soliloquys. He’s always a gentleman who never forces me to do the right thing. I’ve lived long enough to figure out, though, that life has a weird way of making me wish He had. . . No interruptions from the Father. He just stops talking and sits listening in His incredible patience.
Eventually I realize the only wind blowing is mine. Oops. God silent? That can’t be good.
And I step humbly, quietly, respectfully back into the presence of The Almighty.
What gave rise to this? Remember old John? Busybody. Always sticking his apostolic nose into the very tender spots where my, ah, spiritual intrepidness isn’t so sparkling. How does he find those, anyway? Doesn’t he notice all the places where I’m good? “This is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments and his unifying commandment is that you conduct yourselves in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed” (2 John 4-6).
“You? Unloving?” I know, right? Hard to fathom, isn’t it? Yet here’s the hard truth. I may be following the letter of God’s law while looking down my self-righteous nose at others of His flock who don’t see things as I do. Jesus said thinking is the same as doing. Is it possible to do all the proper Christian things with improper attitudes?
If I suffer from hardening of the attitudes, am I in my adherence to what I believe is pleasing to God any better than the one not so inclined? God never put me out there to scan tickets at the turnstile. He’s got me here to lift, encourage, edify and challenge you to personal, spiritual excellence. . . and welcome you into the family!
I can’t do that with an unloving heart – and that includes loving me, too. God has me here for specific reasons, only one or two of which He deigns to share with me right now. He knows my heart, my mind and my spirit. I want them all aligned and focused on Him, on what pleases Him.
If He’s nodding, anything, anyone else doesn’t matter. My eyes and heart need to stay on Him. If I’m making that the hallmark of every waking day, then I’ll be loving you as I ought to. And my life will be winsome and attractive as it points to Him and Home.“Holy Spirit, overflow this place— Decorate our walls with grace and mercy— Let healing and redemption find searching souls— Lord, have Your way, we humbly pray— THIS IS YOUR HOUSE. FATHER, COME AND DWELL. THIS IS YOUR HOUSE. A HOLY HOUSE OF PRAYER WHERE THE LOST AND THE LONELY BRING THEIR BURDENS AND THEIR CARES: THIS IS YOUR HOUSE— THIS IS YOUR HOUSE.” (lyrics by Randy Phillips, 2002)
I find myself this morning in that group of the lonely, bringing my burdens and my cares to The Master’s House – and feeling an incredible sense of peace and love as He opens His great arms and welcomes me in.
And following John’s lead, I hold out my hand to you. You are loved.
© D. Dean Boone, June 2014