Friday, December 30, 2016

It Was Bound to Happen

Friday, December 30, 2016
The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7b(NLT)
One of the problems with you reading (or listening to) this devotional is that you’ve got to deal with my personal insecurities or crusade issues.  I write these pages at 5:00 in the morning as a response to what God’s Word speaks to me, after reading the day’s lectionary Scriptures.  Often that response hauls out a memory or leftover unresolved issue from my childhood. 
Sorry…I don’t plan it that way…but, for today:
You know that moment in school when you raised your hand with all the other kids because the teacher asked a question…and you didn’t want to appear stupid…so you stuck your paw up in the air…and in the split second it takes for your life to unravel, she calls on you, even though when your eyes made contact you were in the middle of pulling your hand down, because…you haven’t got a clue what the question meant, much less what the answer might be?
It was bound to happen – especially to me.  Because I was that kid who often didn’t raise my hand at all.  I followed the wise sage advice that it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!
But one time I really thought I had the answer.  It was in 5th grade, and we were in morning assembly – pledge allegiance, Lord’s Prayer, moment of silence, then singing the National Anthem…every day…every word. 
But that day was different.  We had a visiting famous person who played the piano and sang.  I can’t recall her name, but her name isn’t my childhood unresolved issue.  She played and sang a song, then asked if anyone knew who wrote the song.  I stuck that paw up in the middle of a sea of 4th-5th and 6th graders – I think I surprised even me by doing that – but I knew the answer was right; it had to be Nat King Cole.  The singer-famous lady nodded in my direction; I blurted out Nat King COLE!!  And the whole assembly burst into laughter and rolled eyes; they had heard what I didn’t; the famous lady had asked if anyone knew what famous FEMALE author had written the song.  Nobody even knew what a gender reorientation surgery was back then, so there was no chance Mr. Cole had become a female singer/songwriter!  I sat down quickly in a pit of despair, wishing it were a bottomless-pit that would swallow me whole!  It was the longest day of my 11 year old life.
I didn’t raise my hand again in a crowd until graduate school 22 years later. 
It seems rather strange that a kid with that kind of introvert issues would eventually wind up talking in front of people, leading meetings and giving advice.  There had to be something less-painful to do with your life for someone who prefers the corner of the room…maybe be a forrest ranger deep in the Amazon.
Actually it only seems strange if you look at people like people look at people.  When you do that you judge what you do not know.  But when God looks at someone, He sees all the way past the introverted insecurity, and the rolled eyes of his classmates; God sees all the way into the heart and soul, and says:  I need that critter to go speak for me over the next 40 years to several congregations in a few Southern states. 
The fact is, even this critter doesn’t understand himself as well as God understands me.  But when He called, even though I wanted to run like Jonah, sulk like Elijah, equivocate like Peter, whine like Samuel, excuse myself like Moses…I listened…and have tried to be obedient. 
And sometimes what God has done with the kid who hated to be noticed by anyone, talk in front of anyone, be singled-out by any means…well it’s more surprising than Nat King Cole singing in a female falsetto voice.

For You Today

Have you got anything that God wants, but causes you to run for the pit?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i] Title image: By Oregon Department of Transportation (Showing hands  Uploaded by Smallman12q), via Wikimedia Commons

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