Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wait for it!

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:4-5 (NIV)

4 On one occasion, while [Jesus] was eating with them, He gave them this command: Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Good morning!

Here’s a personal question to ponder today: When traffic lights change from green to yellow, does your driving foot generally react by (a) putting on the brakes; or (b) stepping on the gas pedal?

I ran a yellow light yesterday. Sometimes, if I’m in the intersection and the light suddenly changes, there is no choice but to add a little acceleration and move on through the exchange; but this was not the case. The light was yellow and I had time to stop, but I chose to go instead. The light turned red while I was making the turn, and as soon as I did it, the Holy Spirit jabbed me in the gut. I knew I should have waited. However, I also knew that if I had applied the brake at that particular moment, the person driving in the car behind me, who was obviously in a bigger hurry than I was, would have probably rear-ended me right then and there. Is this a good excuse to run a yellow light? How would this defense hold up before a judge in traffic court? “Your honor, if it pleases the court, I offer this evidence as my "soul" defense: the brother behind me made me do it! Please check your video camera recording and you will see that my decision to run the yellow light was solely based upon the automobile that was riding my tail and pushing me through the intersection. Your honor, with all due respect, he is the one that deserves the punishment - not me.”

How many times do we run the cautionary yellow lights of life, forgetting that the slow down plan is often best? Our youngest grandson Andrew is almost two years old and every bit of it. He is one busy boy! Of our five grandchildren, I think Andrew shows the least amount of fear. This is a scary age, when wee ones love to climb and jump and explore the unknown, without any cognitive recognition of imminent danger. I’ve seen that child climb up furniture quicker than I can say “No, Andrew” and take a running leap, laughing hysterically as gravity quickly pulls him back down to earth. Saturday night, I could see that Andrew was wearing down. When Grandmothers get tired, they lie down and rest. When two year old boys get tired, they begin to go a whole lot faster, for fear of having to actually lie down and rest. Three times this child decided to take a running leap off the living room sofa; and three times I told him to stop. The third time was the kicker. I immediately put Andrew in time out and you would have thought the world stopped spinning. Andrew cried and wailed as big old crocodile tears rolled down his flushed face. After he expressed his sincere dislike of Granny Deb’s slow down plan, he calmed himself, and was well behaved the rest of the evening. It’s amazing what a little time out can do to right an upside down world.

Jesus wasn’t kidding when he told His disciples to wait for it. He gave them a monumental task; to go and share His message of salvation with the entire world! The adversity they would face and the judgments and punishments of others would follow them wherever they went. Many would believe and just as many would not. His beloved would face serious consequences for their actions, and it would cost them their lives. Jesus knew without the help and power of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them, they would become like a tired two year old, tired and rambunctious, running from here to there with no real sense of purpose or call. They would not heed the cautions that come with ever-present danger, and would surely fall along the way. Jesus wanted them to have the tools they needed to effectively take the message around the world.

About an hour later, I drove back through that intersection, much slower than before. I saw two ambulances and a fire truck flashing lights in the roadway. I saw the crumpled vehicles in the street. It appeared that someone tried to run a yellow light and collided with an oncoming car who was also in a hurry to go. Are we willing to risk the lives of others because we’re too busy to stop and wait?

Just like a yellow light cautions us to slow down, Jesus tells us not to launch out into the deep without His powerful Holy Spirit directing our lives. We must not try to go it alone. Ask Jesus to pour out His Holy Spirit upon your life today. Then wait for it! You will know when to go in Jesus’ name! Amen!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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