Know that lovely feeling you sometimes have when you’ve left church and there’s no big agenda for the afternoon, the message really spoke to you, and all seems right with the world, at least for that moment? Yeah, I was having such a moment.
Nick had spoken to us about the life lesson from Haggai – making complete dedication to God the foundation of my life. All his message points and the personal application of them were still firing away in my brain synapses.
My "low fuel" light came in, so I stopped at the Safeway fuel station to fill my gas tank. On such a lovely summer’s day, it made sense that it would be a busy scene, especially so close to the interstate, and I was patiently waiting my turn. Two cars in front of me got their place, and then a spot opened up right in front of me, so I began to turn my car around so my gas tank would be next to the pump.
I was just about to back into the spot, when an older man and his wife came into view, and began to head around me into the place I was headed! I motioned that I was about to back into the space, but he just kept coming!
Then I realized there wasn’t room for him to get around me, and that if he didn’t stop, he was going to hit me! He didn’t even slow down! He just plowed right into my driver’s side front bumper and tried to shove my car out of his way! I was so amazed, I didn’t know what to do! I had said out loud, "You’re going to hit me!" just before he rammed into me. He ignored my pleas to stop, and the look I know I had on my face, and just kept coming.
It gets better. After he hit me, he realized he couldn’t shove me out of the way, and BACKED UP AND HIT ME AGAIN! This time he had pulled to the right enough that when he hit my bumper again, he slid across it and around my car.
I was so in disbelief that this had happened, I just sat there for a few seconds. None of the guys pumping gas into their cars tried to come to my rescue, or even yell,
"Dude! Whaddah yah doin’?!"
I wanted to jump out of my car and scream at this man. I wanted to cry. I thought about how quickly I went from pleasant contentment to the urge to strangle someone!
So much for my pleasant Sunday morning!
I got my gas, finally, at a different pump. I drove away, in rapid conversation with God.
"What was THAT about, Lord?!?"
(My daily meditations this past week have been from John MacArthur’s The Quest for Character, the chapter on Merciful Compassion.)
"You expect me to have MERCY and COMPASSION for this guy?!?"
"Why should I?"
"He was so obviously in the wrong!"
"This isn’t fair!"
"I should have at least been allowed to get out of my car and give him a piece of my mind, and You know I considered doing that, even when I knew it wasn’t going to change the outcome!"
Finally, I shut up long enough for the Holy Spirit to get another word in sideways.
The only thing I had heard from Him during all this, when I begged for the Grace to forgive this guy, was a gentle reminder of this week’s study.
That was before my little rant.
Then the Holy Spirit said, "You have prayed all week for this character trait to be given to you. You have asked for insight about how that might happen, since all the suggestions in the Beatitudes seem so far beyond our human capacity. This is certainly an opportunity for that, don’t you think?"
"What has happened in that old man’s life to allow him to think what he did was justified?"
"Maybe he is suffering from dementia, and really shouldn’t be driving anymore, but doesn’t know any other way to get to town and get groceries and gas."
"You don’t know, and you don’t need to know. Just surrender your "rights", your "will" and your life, again, the way you did at the close of this morning’s services, and go on.
"You might even remember to express a little gratitude for the lesson in mercy and compassion. Have a nice day."
So, the focus for October’s The House: Grace Stories. How has it come to you when you needed it most? Share it with us, won’t you? We grow as we share our stories. It’s part of His Plan for our lives; walking this walk together.