Sunday had been a beautiful day. In spite of illness, anxiety and a potent helping of the blues, I prayed to God as I went about my day, asking Him to help me fight the good fight, keep a smile on my face and think about others. I was “getting back to the basics” after a difficult week.
The whole day was peaceful. I found enjoyment in the most mundane activities. I didn’t get any work done on writing projects, but somehow it didn’t concern me.
That night I lay down and read for a bit, then started to drift off to sleep. As I descended into slumber, I felt God tugging gently on my sleeve. He seemed to be saying, “Isn’t it time you let go of your resentment?”
It was true; I was resentful. I had regressed substantially in some important areas of my life. Circumstances beyond my control had supplanted my goals. I was suddenly dealing with a great deal of discomfort and inconvenience. The whole month had blown up in my face.
However, it was the best kind of crisis. The pain I was feeling and the momentary setbacks were awakening me to the fact that I had gotten off course. In a big way, my plans and goals had eclipsed the central focus of pursuing Christ and His aims. God was shaking things up, and all I had been able to see was that some of my favorite things had been taken away from me. I was sore!
But as God gently approached me (quite cleverly, after I had begun to drift off to sleep), I knew He was right.
When I find myself in a crisis, I often hold on to anger because it is an energy source. But in this case, my anger was preventing me from seeing reality; it was an obstacle to humility and change. God had spoken at just the right time, and I said sleepily, “Okay, Lord; you’re right. I’m sorry for being hard-headed and prideful. Help me get back on track again. I’m going to do things your way.”
Once I had submitted to Him, God began restoring peace and joy to me. I felt a comfort quite like being tucked into bed at the end of the day. My little rogue mission was over. I was like a ten-year-old boy who had come home after getting distracted and blowing his curfew. Now I was grounded for a couple of days and, after sulking for a while, I was finally letting my Dad get a smile out of me.
Somehow, as I slept that night, God’s message was resonating in my heart. My mind, too, was spinning. I awoke in the middle of the night with a full-scale commentary in my head. The brief conversation I’d had with my Creator a few hours before had turned into a detailed lesson on obedience.