Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lion & the Mustard Seed

I took my lunch break an hour late. The previous 6 hours had been nothing but trouble & I anticipated nothing but chaos upon my return. As I shut the door to my truck, I let out a big sigh & apologized profusely to God for my attitude & colourful language... No one knew I was angry- little things had been building all day & I chose to put my head down & barrel through, muttering piss & gall in private intervals. I was feeling a little crazy inside. I knew I couldn't go back in & finish the night unless I had a change of heart. So I asked God what to do.

I pulled out my Bible & decided to play a game of Roulette. I opened randomly to Zephaniah 3. Oh! Zephaniah 3! Everyone knows the famous verse from Zephaniah 3! Verse 17 says "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save..." But thats not the verse I read. My eyes fell instead on 3:2. "She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God..." This verse is talking about Jerusalem. And for that moment, it spoke about me as well. I could identify with being disobedient to God, refusing His correction... All through the night, I "heard" His still, small voice reminding me to guard my heart. I knew there were trials in store for this week. I made a meager effort toward patient prayer, but in the end, piss & gall. I wanted to be justified in my frustration. I failed to put my trust in Him, to draw near, & thats when the trouble began. I recognized myself in Zephaniah 3:2 immediately...

I continued reading & came to vs 5. "The Lord within her is righteous; He does no wrong. Morning by morning He dispenses His justice, & every new day He does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame." I felt ashamed about my crappy attitude... & this scripture brought me hope. I realized again (for the umpteenth time) that hard as I may try, I can't do anything apart from Christ... It's Christ in me who is righteous- He is my Vine, my Bread, my Blood. He is my conduit of Life & all things good & right & true. In Him I live & move & have my being (Acts 17:28). Without Him, I'm powerless.

I neglected the warning not to be anxious about anything. I didn't prayerfully "petition God with thanksgiving" (Phil. 4:6-7)... If I had, surely the peace of God would have guarded my heart & mind! I should have remembered to be "self controlled & alert" because my "enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pe. 5:8). I could hear him padding through the warehouse... I felt his hungry breath on my neck. I thought if I ignored him, he would become disinterested & go away... but he took an arm, a foot... and left me limping back to God.

Hebrews 12:7, 11 says "Endure hardship as discipline... God is treating you as sons. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it". 1 Pe. 5:10 says "...the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you & make you strong, firm & steadfast." Indeed.

I went back to finish my work day. The frustration seemed to melt off & I found myself whiling away the next 2 hours in relative peace... The Lord within me was back in His rightful place on the throne of my heart. Granted, this was a small lesson learned in comparison to most... but even the mustard seed grows up to be a tree with branches for the birds to perch in.

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