You know how your kids have the peculiar ability to miss what is in plain sight? Kiddo asks where’s the mayo…you say in the fridge…he says nuh-uuuh…you say did you look?…he says of course he did…aaaannddd, you go to the fridge and pull it right out and hand it to him? Ever been there? That’s where I’ve been. As the bat-blind kiddo of course.
We’re weird creatures, aren’t we? Well I am at least. I have such a great capacity for ignoring the obvious. I’m stumbling around acting like I’m deaf and blind, feeling my way, crying out to be able to see…and all the while God’s standing there saying “open your eyes!”
So, a little background (I want you to get an idea of just how ridiculous I’ve been)…someone said something that offended me.
Was it mean, you may ask? Nope. Was it untrue? Nope.
So why did it offend me? P. R. I. D. E. Of course I didn’t recognize that right away. Blind as a bat, I am. No, instead I cried out to God wondering where He went. Why couldn’t I feel Him, why couldn’t I hear Him? Two days of this. All the while, He’s sitting right beside me saying “your eyes are closed, sweetie, and you’ve got your fingers in your ears.”
I felt like I had done what I was supposed to. When the comment was made, and my feelings got bruised, I took it to Him. I didn’t want to dishonor Him by saying something I shouldn’t, and I told Him that I didn’t want to dishonor Him with my emotions either. But in reality, I wanted to stand in my self-righteousness and justifications and be offended.
I wanted Him to make the other person realize they had hurt my feelings. I wanted Him to be my Defender, my Champion. I wanted Him to ride in on His white horse and chastise the other person for daring to critique His darling child. And failing that, then I wanted to tell the other person myself that they didn’t have the authority to say that to me, that it was God’s job to bring conviction if He so chose. (And it is…but sometimes He uses others to speak truth into our lives.)
So He whispered to me that it could be pride that was the problem. I said “nuh-uh.” Nope, that wasn’t it. Then cried on His shoulder that I just wanted to KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS!!! He said “pride.” I said “nuh-uuuh!”
You know the issue with arguing with God…? He’s always right. No one has ever won an argument with Him. You’d think with that kind of track record we wouldn’t even try. But we’re not that smart (or at least I’m not).
Guess what? The problem was pride. I didn’t want to hear what the other person had to say, because it spoke to something that I had my eyes closed to. Now, Jesus opened my eyes to that particular problem almost immediately after the comment, and He lovingly and thoroughly dealt with it, and in the process set me free (I praise You, Lord). But I still had that injured pride to deal with. Isn’t it wonderful that He works with us on so many levels at the same time? I would get dizzy and frustrated, and I’m so thankful that He doesn’t.
I’m so thankful that He is faithful even when we aren’t. I’m so grateful that He will set us free from something and we can revel and wallow in that freedom, and He will still work on us in other areas to bring us in line with Him. Yet it doesn’t diminish the work He has already done. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. I can say that He set me free from something through the comment I didn’t like, and that was wonderful. That’s over there. Then, over here, He’s working on something else, and the one defeat doesn’t diminish the other victory. The victory is still there, even though there was an additional issue that He was dealing with. I can’t fathom how He does that…I don’t have the scope of vision that He does.
And you know what else? He wasn’t mad at me over the issue. How would I as a human have handled someone ignoring what I was saying? Say it was my daughter that asked me a question, and I gave her the answer, and she argued with me that it wasn’t the right answer. And kept asking, and kept denying that the answer I gave was correct. How would I have handled that? Depending on my mood and depending on our relationship, I would have been anywhere from frustrated to downright angry. And if she kept arguing with me, I would have washed my hands of the whole thing and told her she could go sit in her wrongness and be wrong.
But He didn’t do that. Here’s what I think about something… You know how I said “depending on my mood and our relationship”? I think how He deals with us depends on our relationship with Him. Do we have one? Is it healthy? Is it respectful and reverential? Is it close? But His patience is never diminished by a bad mood. He doesn’t have them. He isn’t moody. He isn’t taking out His frustration over someone or something else on us. So He has endless patience with us, especially when we have a heart that longs to please Him.
Sometimes He does tell us to go sit in our wrongness and be wrong, and come talk to Him when we figure out He’s right. Depends on how stubborn we are. He reads our hearts not our words.
He didn’t get mad at me when I closed my eyes and plugged my ears. He waited. Patiently. (Maybe He rolled his eyes a little, sighed, and tapped His fingers…) But He knew I would get there. He knew that He would be able to peel my eyes open and pull my fingers out of my ears. He knew the outcome of that little dance, so He had no need for impatience.
He knew that the scripture I would be reading this morning would specifically address the issue. (I had to grin when I read it. I mean, really?) So I had to come stand before Him with my head down, arms hanging at my sides, toe scuffing the ground, and say “it was pride.”
You know what else I learned? He has no need to act superior. Back to the illustration of me and my daughter. Say I’ve washed my hands of it and told her to go sit in her wrongness and be wrong…and she comes back and says “you were right.” What’s the natural, human reaction going to be? “Told you so!” But that’s not what He does.
He just grins and washes it all clean. See, confession is just agreeing with Him. He knows He’s right, He’s just waiting for us to catch up. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He doesn’t have to beat us over the head with it. He doesn’t keep bringing it back up and saying “remember how you ignored Me over that…” He just forgives us. Washes us clean.
And we go on. We enjoy each other. We smile and laugh and play together. And He fills me with His joy.
Until the next time I ignore Him…and then He’ll do it all again. With endless patience and love. He knows what I’m made of, remembers that I am but dust, and blind and deaf, but He loves me so.