2x4s From Heaven
Most of us struggle with hearing from God, but there are times when he wants to get our undivided attention. In Jonah’s case, he sent the ocean’s big fish. In my case, he sent a man. It’s like, when we are not listening to what he’s trying to tell us, he sometimes reaches down from heaven and whacks us over the head with a 2×4. Its not pretty and it can hurt. A lot.
A long time ago in another lifetime, I used to wear a badge serving as a law enforcement officer for our local sheriff’s department. I really loved it and wanted to make a career out of it but I had to stop serving because of some health issues that cropped up, but I had always wanted to get back into uniform one day. It was a pipe dream that I was holding on to and didn’t want to let go of for whatever reason.
Anyway, to make a long story short, years later I got pulled over one day by a young, self-righteous deputy who didn’t take too kindly to me still carrying my ID cards and wearing an old department t-shirt (both of which are perfectly legal). But added to that, and unknown to me, I matched the description of a guy they were looking for who was wanted for multiple sexual assaults — another blue light rapist that was on the loose. And because of my matching the suspect’s physical description, I was arrested and booked into the very jail that I had booked others into years before.
It was on the evening news. For two days. But instead of the news reporting the actual facts, they reported about 5% facts and took “journalistic license” (aka, outright lied) about the rest of the incident. One reporter went so far as to actually state that I had been identified as the bad guy. There was just one problem — I wasn’t him. The following day the detectives investigating the case had cleared me and completely dropped the charges. But the damage had been done. The news media never bothered to “report” that I had in fact been cleared — they just moved on to the next big headline, leaving a mass of damage in their wake.
I think that God allowed that incident to happen, yet I can’t say for certain exactly why, but he has his reasons. I do know that God closed a door that I had been holding open. He closed it forever, forcing me to leave that path and walk a new one, much like with Jonah. The biggest difference between us is that he told Jonah directly what to do, but not so with me. Having no clear instructions, I’m left having to figure it out on my own — obviously he believes I can. I’ve had to learn to be still and to listen. I think that he wanted me to have a total break from the past, in more ways than one, to open me up to an unknown future. That future is unfolding before me and I’m discovering it every single day, trying to follow where God is leading me. It’s not easy — some days the path is clearly marked, and some days it’s not.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he told them that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. I believe that, and little by little, and day by day, I am seeing the good.