“Lead me in Your Truth and teach me for You are the God of my salvation” Psalm 25:5
“He said to them…..’but go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice” Matthew 9:12
Really; is one of those words whose meaning can morph over time based on the cultural context and tone that it is used in. At least in my part of the United States, when someone says “really” in a very questioning tone, it is an expression of disbelief and normally derision at some act or statement on some other person’s part; as in “I can’t believe you did or said that”.
So if you will indulge me a little with a quick (hopefully) story about how God taught me to rethink my really to His Really or better yet His Reality. My wife got a dog years ago which has now become my walking companion. And while I will tease her (my wife that is) about her dog becoming my responsibility, it is in truth a blessing because God so often uses those walking times as a great teaching classroom. So this particular day as I’m walking the dog a group of people; a parent, two children approximately 12-14 and one child approx 8-10, come out of their house. As I walked by, their attire made it seem they may also be about getting some exercise and sure enough, they start to walk several yards behind me.
Now here’s the thing; my dog is easily distracted. Especially when someone is behind him, he wants to often stop and check out where they are. If I wanted to think nice thoughts it is because he wants to be sure if my safety. More likely, he is thinking, I know I can outrun my master so they’ll get him first (but I digress). And thus my steady, leisurely walk gets turned into a constant stopping, looking and restarting exercise.
Now some of you may be thinking: Really?? “You don’t own the sidewalk, it’s a free country”, and that’s true. So I wasn’t really annoyed and in fact I thought I might be blocking them from starting a run so I moved over in case they wanted to start their run. Alas, they continued to walk behind me.
So, in wanting to get back to my non-stopping and starting, leisurely walk, I decided to take a path I thought less traveled that would allow them to go a different direction and all would be happy. However, as you might guess, even after a couple of turns; there they were right behind me. Again, free sidewalk, free country they have ever right to be there. But the dog kept stopping and now I was a little annoyed. “Couldn’t they see that the dog was concerned about them being back there; couldn’t they have decided to go a different way?” I thought to myself. This continued for most of the block, understand these people, while talking to each other were not being loud or obnoxious in any way. Finally I moved completely across the street, I stopped to let them go by. We exchanged pleasantries, although I’m thinking: “move on so I can get back to my peace”. And then it happened.
I stood there. I was waiting for them to get far enough ahead that my dog would pay no more attention to them. I was somewhat disinterestedly observing them. The group had come to an intersection. There was a brief discussion amongst most and then the two older children crossed the road. But the youngest child did something different. The youngest child pointed a different direction, leaned in that direction was pulling his mother that way. His mother gently, lovingly bent over and talked with him. The child was still pointing that way but slowly stepped into the street with his mother to follow the other two children. The child saw a coin laying in the street, stopped suddenly calling out excitedly to his mother to stop and look. Again lovingly, not yanking hard or yelling at him, coaxed the boy back to the sidewalk as traffic was starting to come down the street. This young boy was a special needs child. What that need was I can’t be certain; but his behavior, all their behavior showed that to be true.
And God reached down. He reached down with His Godly Merciful, Loved filled fingers and He gave me a flick right on my forehead. You see, I have always felt such compassion for special needs children and the families that care for them. And as much as just a few seconds earlier I was annoyed with this group; now I felt such a strong admiration and respect for them. And God asked me: “Do you get it?” “Do you understand?” And with a heavy sigh, I answered: “Yes I think so. Thank you Father”
What did I get? What do I hope you might get? The choice that I made and the choices I make about how to see things matter. You see that family didn’t change throughout that entire walk. What changed, profoundly changed, was how I chose to view them. Initially I chose to view them in a way that caused me irritation. Let that sink in for a moment. They didn’t cause the irritation to me, I did it to myself. Had I taken a moment to see them through God’s eyes. Had I been open to looking beyond myself, then those waisted moments of frustration would never have happened. God’s Eyes saw something completely different in them; as well as me, then I was seeing….until God opened my eyes.
Dear sisters and brothers, the next time you find yourself either thinking to yourself about a situation or maybe even questioning God about that situation; asking Him: “Really God?” Be open to, be expecting, prayerfully ask Him to open your eyes to show you His Really. For it is only in His Really, that real truth, blessing, mercy and love reside.
Our most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so very thankful that You have included us in Your Reality and are willing in patience and mercy to teach us about it. Forgive us when we jump to our own conclusions, using the thoughts of this world to judge. Open our eyes that we may see as You do, in love and mercy. That then going forth in Your Vision, we would live lives that praise Your Most Holy Name. In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen