Ah, there you are. I thought you were dead.
So I was thinking all the way through south Georgia yesterday afternoon. Actually, the ghost of my “old man” spooked me a couple times this week. Earlier in the week someone close to me spoke a hard word into my life and my self went into self-defense mode immediately. I wouldn’t even take it to the Lord to see if this was Him. I knew it wasn’t. Couldn’t be. Not from this person. Flames shot from the orbs of my eyes and smoke billowed from flared nostrils. I told my wife about it and promptly opened the screen of my laptop intending to write them the mother of all emails.
“Don’t do it, Scott,” the Holy Spirit warned.
How strange that He looks a lot like Sandy, I thought to myself.
“If you can’t support me, then leave!” I commanded Him (her).
“I’m telling you, you’ll regret it.”
“No I won’t. Now leave me alone!”
Out she walked. I fumed. Pecking out a string of words, I could feel the evil rise up in me. A mirror of sorts materialized and I saw my old self grinning devilishly, egging me on. Oh, he’ll pay, it said. And you will feel so much better. That gave inspiration for another phrase or two and yet another niggling unsettledness prompting me to go “Pac-Man” on them with my backspace key. Y’ever get so mad you don’t know who you’re mad at? That’s the place I was in. Although I never sent the email my mirrored image was dying for me to send, my heart was wrong. And the anger only festered. Yeah, I ‘obeyed’ the Spirit, but there was no life in it. The Lord had me dead to rights and was setting me up.
I suppose that ire was bubbling away inside me still as I came upon the shaved-headed so-and-so in the red car outside of Tifton, Georgia yesterday afternoon. He was in the left lane and traveling slower than Christmas so I flashed him. Immediately I saw his fist go to the air and watched it sprout a middle digit. About this time, Sandy looked up from her book when she heard me snort. Just in time, I add ruefully, to see the middle finger and me hitched to his rear bumper. It was then she looked over at me and gave me the finger, albeit with her stare.
“What are you doing?”
“I want this…this…JERK to get out of the way. Can you believe him?” my voice shrilled, looking for sympathy from my beloved.
Alas, there was none.
“Stop it, Scott!”
“What?!?” I could see immediately it was going to be my issue.
“Slow down, you’re going to get us all killed!”
“All? I think this bozo needs to die.” The words came out like toothpaste from a tube. Too late.
Sandy went back to her book. I sulked. I fumed. God bided His time. No one was speaking, not for the longest time. I’d turn to God in my thoughts with a C’mon, give me a break! Can’t you see how crappy this week has been? And I’m the innocent one in all this, but I could feel Him looking down at whatever He was reading too.
A few hours ago, the Lord summoned me. They were the first words I’d heard Him speak in my direction for some time, so I was glad. What I didn’t know was He had opened the door to a woodshed and invited me in. I was so delighted with the attention I gaited merrily inside, thinking it’s about time. I opened my journal and began pouring out my heart to him, defending myself from the get go, reminding Him I was His man and this must be persecution and all that. Instantly, He went into silent mode again. I wasn’t listening. I was doing all the talking and defending, so He quietly shut the door behind Him and cleared His throat.
I stopped. Looking around, I could tell I didn’t like this room at all. Then I had the strange sensation I’d been here before. Many times. I sat still as a stone, knowing I’d best listen as what I was about to hear was going to be the answer to my cry for so long: Lord, whatever is in me that needs to die, painful as it is, do it. Do me, Lord!
The one thing about God, He doesn’t tap dance very often. Mostly, He gets right to the point.
“You were wrong, Scott.”
“You mean, the other day? Well, I know I was yesterday. But, Lord…”
“You were wrong. I sent My servant to tell you.”
“If you continue to reject his word, you reject Me.”
He showed me this in the context of 1 Samuel 2:30 (the very end of the passage). The clarity was unmistakable.
“I’m sorry, Lord.”
“Not that easy. Not to Me. To him.”
He told me I was to write this person, humiliating myself in the process, telling him I was wrong, he was right and (gulp) asking his forgiveness. He also told me what to say, no more, no less. But still I found a way to obey God and get an old man ‘dig’ in as well. That should do it, I thought somewhat satisfactorily. I wanted to save a little face at least, to hold onto some measure of dignity. Ah, but that’s the stuff of self.
(There you are, you old codger. I thought you were dead.)
“Take that out,” the Lord said. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Yes, Lord.” And I took it out.
Did it hurt to do it? Oh my, and how. But I could never want to be on the other side of God’s holiness. The woodshed is as far as I want to ever go. Funny thing how it is also such a grace-filled room. There’s some real one-on-one attention in the woodshed, some real heart-to hearts in there.
Even still, I think I’ll steer clear of it for awhile, thank you very much.