I detest certain aspects of my disability, and number 3 with a bullet is when things fall off my lap. Keys, books, bowl of cereal, whatever. Oh, how I hate it! Recently, another item of immediate need took a header off the side of my leg and I just expelled a blast of disgusted air as it lay on the floor a full six inches from my outstretched arm. I didn’t cuss but dark and twisted words formed a multiple choice quiz in my mind. I selected ‘e’, none of the above, and wrote in my own on a blankety-blank line—you know the kind: more cultivated forms of popular expression, leaving off the more artful consonant or digraph. You know, just to make it christian.
It was then the hot blade of conviction slipped between my ribs and struck a vital organ. For good measure, the steel that was forged in the fires of Mordor twisted a bit as it went in.
Ever happen to you?
Salt followed the blade and poured like Morton’s umbrellaed girl into the open wound and I yelped like holy blazes!
“Instead of clucking your tongue, sighing disgustedly and contorting your face as if this was the worst trial in the history of man, why not try praising Me?”
Hezekiah 19:11 (also quoted in the apocryphal book of Goober)
He caught me in mid-angst-expression, and I was holding the proverbial stolen cookie in my hand. The Voice-turned-CSI flipped a switch and my mind became a filing cabinet of collected evidence, drawer after drawer opening on hanging folders chock full of similar events, complete with video clips of what I said and did in all those same circumstances previously. A pattern! It was embarrassing and I started pulling up fig leaves like underroos over my mental parts. Which was pretty silly when you think about it.
As you’ll hear a thousand and one times on Law and Order, “evidence doesn’t lie”, that compelling truism had me painted into a corner. My hands reached for the sky as surrender was the only option.
“Okay, Lord. I feel You.”
As is true of most of my anecdotal episodes posted here, it comes with a Moment With Jesus, or a Moment in Scripture, as the dispensational case may be. And this time, my friend, is no different.
There’s a brief glimpse of Amazing Restraint in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 11. It occurs during a moment where we find Jesus facing a change in the atmosphere. Up until, His ministry has been well-received and remarkable but, as some scholars show, when you get to the 11th chapter, the fastidious winds of change begin to huff and puff and blow at the Door. By this time the crowds were beginning to disperse, the headlines were getting ugly, he was being run out of his adopted hometown, the polls were not just dipping but nosediving, and yet…and yet…
Jesus spreads His arms out to the Father and says, “How Good You are!”
Verse 25 starts off with the words, “AT THAT TIME…” Not after, not before, but right when the tornado sirens were blaring and the winds were whipping up all around Him, He pauses to say, “Thank You, Father. Where would I be without You?”
In verse 25 His Voice is heard above the howling storm of adversity to say: “I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth…” In the next breath, He holds the note and adds “Yes, Father…”
PRAISE and YES.
PRAISE and YES.
PRAISE and YES.
“Praise” is a combination of words in Greek that can mean, ‘to declare forth’ or ‘to say (thanks) out (loud)’. The other word means ‘verily’ or ‘even so’ and is a further declaration of one’s absolute trust in the One who reigns. David (or did another believer write it?) was right on point when he said, “You are good, and do good.” (Ps 119:68) See the order? He didn’t say “You DO good and so You ARE good” but he acknowledged God as Good. Firstly. Period. Consequently, He does good.
Clumsiness and mishaps, like trial and tribulation, have their cause in the Fall and the blame for the un-good in them lies wholly at the feet of the Prince of Darkness. In the midst of His pit, and right in the face of ol’ Slewfoot, Jesus has the fortitude to say “Thank You, Father. You’re good. You know. You care!”
This is Truth that sets free, brothers and sisters.
So instead of whining and sighing, why not praise and acknowledge the One who is Truth and Fact. And, in so doing, you’ll put a hob-nailed boot on the neck of the Liar and Deceiver. Who wouldn’t want to do that?