Good morning, peeps!
This will be a 2-part final installment in our “An Awkward Stance” series on Daniel. This is not what I planned to write about this morning, but you all should know by now that God likes to rearrange my plans all of the time.
In the last intallment, I said that the next thing we’d talk about would NOT be the fiery furnace. That is what I said. Guess what was put on my heart to talk about as soon as I typed “Good morning, peeps!”? The fiery furnace.
“Here’s the deal about ‘iron sharpens iron’: you don’t get to pick the iron.” – me
I sure could’ve used this on November 1st.
I muttered those words a few weeks ago before the start of a meeting I had with a leader – I’ll call him ‘Bob’ – who was being very unpleasant right from the jump. I thought, “Naw, bruh. It’s too early in the morning for this mess”. So I stepped out into the hallway to whisper a prayer, hoping that God would help this man out real quick-like and give him a miraculous attitude adjustment. He didn’t, but I went on with the meeting as if Bob was the most pleasant person I’d ever met. When the meeting was over, you KNOW I had a conversation with my Father.
“Um…what was up with that? Didn’t You hear me when I prayed ‘Come, Holy Spirit’? I said it twice!”
“Yep. And I did come…to help you.”
God is hilarious.
Yesterday, I thought about my encounter with Bob and started laughing. God really is funny. Two things came to me:
- the thing about ‘iron sharpens iron’ is that you do not get to pick the iron, and
- it’s hard to be the change you want to see if you don’t change.
More often than not, the situations we are presented with are there to change us first. I know we are supposed to be the “light of the world”, but if we don’t approach that “world” with the right heart, someone’s getting burned to a crisp. Bob, are you reading this??
(Note: before I hit ‘publish’, I looked at “approach that world” and realized that some of us are cool on the approach-the-world tip, but don’t handle the interaction well. Think of it like this: road rage doesn’t happen in driveways. We have to do better. It’s not enough to have good intentions when you start out – you need to be able to carry it through.)
So let me be perfectly honest. When I prayed “Come, Holy Spirit”, I knew that my attitude was getting a little funky. Okay, it downright stank…on a Pepe’ Le Pew tip. I physcially felt the shift in me. Not wanting to be funkdafied was the sole reason I decided to excuse myself from the conference room, but somewhere between the utterance of the “t” in “Spirit” and my entrance back into the conference room, I decided that it was Bob who needed to change – not me. Hmph! Does he not know who I am??
Burn, baby, burn.
One of the cool things about God is that He knows better than we do what is needed every single second of the day and that morning at approximately 6:49, I needed a little sharpening. He used Bob. Sure, I would’ve liked it to have come another way, but God didn’t really ask me. I mean, it’s not like I had a list of preferred sharpening tools at the ready, but I could’ve thought of something. Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I’m sure a fiery furnace was not on their list. Can’t we just have another meal to turn away? I’m sure the untimely death of children, siblings, parents and friends is not on your list. Or illness and financial ruin. I’m sure a lot of us would prefer not to go through pain and heartache or even little annoyances to be sharpened. There has got to be a YouTube tutorial we can watch instead.
We may not get to pick the iron, but we do get to choose who’s holding it.*
*At the beginning of this series, I said that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made a choice. There it is.