I am tired. Seriously tired. Physically I feel fine, am feeling better than I have in years, but spiritually I am exhausted.
I know that this is not a serious condition, I recognize the signs and I have a fairly good idea of what brought this on… a long, stress filled week with difficult situations in every direction on the compass, and that long week was capped by a very long Sunday, full of entanglements and other stuff that just makes me sigh and repeat my daughter’s favorite saying…. If knowing God doesn’t make a difference in the way people behave, then what’s the point.
That saying sprang to mind a few times yesterday while I worked my way through the emails and discovered that someone who had been advised patience in a very messy and complicated undertaking has attempted to triangulate others into the mess, as if that will clear things up more quickly. It smacks of divisive action, which is a topic you really don’t want to get me started on…SERIOUSLY.
My father did not tolerate fools, in fact he rarely tolerated people. My daughter of the famous sayings, once said “I think the only reason Opa puts up with us is because we are blood relatives.” You could verify that fact by asking any of the “married ons”….. but I digress.
I have found myself in the past few days wishing that I was more like my father, then I could tell the fools in my life what I truly think of them and be done with it. Which brings me to my favorite definition of stress
the condition that results when you don’t beat the crap out of some asshole who richly deserves it.
I apologize if that seems like language unbecoming to a minister (and only lay people will think so by the way) but quite frankly sometimes I feel as if we spend way too much time tolerating fools and increasing our own stress because of it.
So, you are probably wondering what this rant has to do with my ongoing spiritual growth. Well last night I read a guided meditation on 2 Kings 6: 11-17 which helped me to put all of the above into perspective.
The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his officers and said to them, ‘Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?’ Then one of his officers said, ‘No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.’ He said, ‘Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him.’ He was told, ‘He is in Dothan.’ So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city.
When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, ‘Alas, master! What shall we do?’ He replied, ‘Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed: ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6: 11-17 NRSV
I know you are wondering how this passage is the beginning of the renewal of my spiritual strength. That happened in the guided meditation, when the task was to reflect on this passage from the point of view of someone in the story.
I so wanted to be Elisha, the person of God, full of confidence, knowing that God has his angels and warriors arrayed against a multitude of fools… but I didn’t… I couldn’t. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of fools that were draining my energy. The person in the passage that I could relate too was the servant who isn’t (wasn’t) able to see the hand of God working in the unfolding of the events.
As I pondered and prayed, I realized that my stress was a sign of my lack of faith and confidence in God, and that my lack of faith and confidence in God was because my focus was on the stress and the fools/idiots that surround me. Eye opening to say the least.
My life, with all of its complications…. my calling to ministry, with all of its complications are intimately known by God and God does have legions of heavenly servants preparing the way. Have I seen them on the hillside? Not with my physical eyes. But I do believe that the eyes of my heart are catching a glimpse of them in the mist up ahead.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. NIV