This week, I accidentally allowed a small fly to enter my house.
The fly would not leave, and it is so quick and small that I couldn't hope to dispose of it. In fact, the fly is so annoying that I am tempted to name it.
It has stayed with me for four days, as of Sept. 7, annoying and tormenting me with its antics. As I do my Bible study, it will land on my head or just sit on my electronic tablet facing me, as if daring me to try catching it. Isn’t that quite annoying?
This is just one fly. It made me consider what the Egyptians dealt with during the fourth plague sent by God, when their houses were inundated with flies and the ground was covered. That made me think about what else can be annoying to that degree.
A friend told me a story about how someone snubbed them. My friend could trace that back to another friend, who said something to the person that made them snub my friend.
Over roughly a week of considering this scenario, my friend was about to approach the snubber and explain their innocence, in an attempt to tell their side of the story and speak against the negative things said about them. Thankfully, God intervened.
The snubber stopped by one day after a meeting, put their hand on my friend's shoulder, and said, with a sincere smile and voice, how happy they were they would be working on the same materials together.
My friend was shocked, even taken aback. Everything they imagined was just that – something made up in their head – even, evidently, the snub. Tell me we all haven’t done that.
We have gnawed an imagined snub or a passing thoughtless word to the ninth degree over weeks, months, or perhaps years. Why do we do that?
In this instance, it was the lack of knowing the truth. It was also a lack of acknowledging who has our backs.
If we are Christ's followers, we can depend on God always being our defender, which he tells us in His Word, in many places. Let’s not doubt God’s word, and let Him be our defender.
When we feel slighted by someone or overlooked for a job we desired, do we look for someone to blame, or do we give it all to God to let Him handle it? I can testify that it is much more satisfying in the long run, certainly if not right away, to give it all to God.
Give God all of our imagined or real slights and aggravation toward someone, especially if they are someone we are in contact with constantly (spouses and family come to mind). If we acknowledge God is our defender, we can react more calmly, go about our business as usual, and make our lives more productive. It's not easy, but it is worth the effort.
For many years, I worked for attorneys and was fascinated by how fierce they would be with each other at trial in front of a jury or judge, and then, at the end of trial, they would shake hands with their opponent and move on. They, as we should, recognized that they must get along. Their fight was in the courtroom's context and not personal, even though it may have appeared as such. Therefore, maybe the person that got that desired job was the best choice after all?
Of course, we know that we will have challenges and contact with cutthroat people. We then need to put these people and their actions into context, where it belongs.
If our life is not in jeopardy, we have the opportunity to ask God how to respond. It is best to keep silent when we are angry.
It has been a long, slow lesson, and I am still in the process of getting this lesson down as I read what the Bible says in James, “. . . let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger . . .”
God is patient, thankfully, and willing to train us as a father does a child.
I was so angered by injustice inflicted on a coworker once that I argued with God, driving home from work asking him what He was going to do about it. Was no one going to be punished for this unfair action?
God, through His Word, said He had it covered, but I kept ranting. Breaking me out of my argument was a persistently honking horn. I looked to see what was happening and realized the truck next to me had its window down, with the driver pointing at me, yelling, “Your tire is flat." I had to laugh out loud because God was telling me if I wanted something to worry about, how about a flat tire?
In all my years of driving, that was my first flat. I now very much try to let God handle what I should not and cannot. If those who believe God is in charge would let Him do so, wouldn’t the world look and feel much better?
I pray we may learn from Him this week to trust Him with our time, energy, woes and joys. Let's voluntarily surrender what's annoying our minds and let God be in charge. After all, Jesus tells us, “Let not your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.” (John 14:1)
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.