Every once in a while, yet far more often than I'd like to admit, the Lord just says, "You know what, honey, you're a little big for your britches." And He uses natural consequences to take me down a notch or two or three.
Does that ever happen to you? No? Only me? Hmmm....
Reminds me of a story told by Christian comedian Ken Davis (I really should let him tell it; you can find the recounting in his "A Twisted Mind" DVD/CD). He gave the commencement speech at his alma mater, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. They gave him a standing ovation. And he stood there under the lights looking out and hearing the applause and he remembers thinking, "THIS is what life is all about."
He went to his chair and sat down.
And because the Lord loves him, and the Lord has a sense of humor, his chair instantly fell off the back of the stage.
The applause changed to laughter in the space of an instant. Can you imagine the moment in time when you realize what has just occurred. All eyes are on you. They love you. They think you are the cat's meow. And you just did something that wipes the slate of everything important and meaningful and eternity-mattering you said to them in the previous thirty minutes.
THAT is what their "take-away" from this day will be. A hilarious story, probably with sound effects. "Can you even IMAGINE? I'd just DIE of embarrassment."
I hope the crowd had the grace to wait to giggle until he stood up and they could see he was ok, but it was just that fast a journey from high, to low. Ten seconds from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
I've never forgotten that story, although it's probably been 15 years since I heard it. Because it sounds so much like something that would happen to me. I've had some spectacularly public fails. Horrifyingly embarrassing moments that I still blush to remember. Which is why I'm telling you Ken Davis' story and not one of my own.
No, really. It's not like I don't have a huge library to choose from.
Hebrews 12:6 tells us "For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” God, like the loving Parent He is, doesn't allow those who profess the name of Christ to continue very long down self-destructive, pride-filled paths before He brings them up short with a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder. His correction is proof that He loves us. It's evidence that you are in His family. His work in your life is on-going and will be up until the day of completion.
That kind of correction, though it may smart at the time, is welcomed by those interested in spiritual maturity. I WANT the Lord to point out my wrong motivations, my puffed-up pride, my focus on the fluff instead of the friend.
It's remarkably freeing, actually.
There's zero sense in pretending perfection, because God will just allow consequences to play their role in returning me to my proper station at the bottom of the pedestal instead of atop it. And in the meantime, my pretending won't do me, or you, dear fellow believer, any service.
I'm going to take today's "Hey, Lyssa" reminder of the truth of Proverbs 16:18's "pride goeth before a fall" as evidence that God loves me and wants me to concentrate more on ministry and less on myself.
It's one I will undoubtedly have to learn over and over again in the future, if the past in any indication! On the life-long path to spiritual maturity, I figure I'm about on the "unruly toddler" stage. I require 24-hour supervision and constant re-direction.