Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Things that Go Bumpity Bump on a Quiet Day"

It was a quiet afternoon, in my quiet neighborhood,  in my quiet house. The wind was blowing and a storm was brewing, but still “quiet” best described the day. 

Until, suddenly, I began to hear all kinds of commotion. At first I couldn’t pin it down: where it was coming from or what it was, but it was close.       In the house? On the house? Downstairs? Was someone here? Was someone throwing boxes, pounding on the walls? “WHAT IS THAT?” I wondered.

Finally I was able to pinpoint a probable location. Somewhere to the back of the house, but by the time  I got there the noise had moved to the top of the house. No, it was moving around on the roof. Aha! Squirrels! Squirrels of unusual size. No, I reasoned, this was definitely too much noise and too much “roughhousing” for even the lively, pesky squirrels that inhabit my yard
But something was on the roof! An elephant, perhaps?

On further investigation I discovered the source of the commotion. The umbrella from the table on my porch was on the roof and rolling from one side to the other at a pretty good pace! It bounced and cavorted and did a feisty wind dance. As I waited and watched and tried to decide whether to go grab the ladder and go up after it, the wind blew it back off the roof and, between the table and me, it was contained once again.

So then “quiet” went back to “quiet” and I went back to work...only now I had something else to think about! Two things, actually. The first was this. Only a few years ago I would have been scared senseless! I would have thoroughly convinced myself that someone uninvited was in my house and that I was in imminent danger. I would have been terrified and my reaction would have been extreme and dramatic. Fear has a way of doing that to you. Left unchecked, my imagination has a way of running away with itself!
But, those of you who “know my story” also know that God miraculously delivered me from fear several years ago and I don’t live like that any longer. Fear no longer paralyzes or controls me. Thank you, LORD God.

The second thing this incident reminded me of is how quickly we “jump to conclusions” without all of the facts. There are a number of biblical accounts of just such a thing. Eli the priest found Hannah crying sorrowfully and praying under her breath in the Temple and assumed she was drunk. (Simply adding more wounds to an already desperate woman.) My favorite (?) example happens in Joshua 22 when the tribes of Israel almost go to war against each other because of false assumptions and misread “signs.” There are a number of other examples in the New Testament, as well.

It’s human nature, I guess, to make assumptions based on what we think we see; to make judgments after only hearing one side of a story; to think we know more than we do and to judge a person’s motives without knowing all there is to know. Good reasons to live “above reproach” and to daily live our lives under the power and the influence of the Holy One.

Father God, keep me from faulty judgments and give me daily wisdom to live my life in a way that bears up under the eye of a watching world. Keep me from presumption and unfair judgements. Guard my heart and my ways and give me the wisdom to check things out BEFORE I react!
And thank you that fear no longer defines my life.