I mentioned in passing on a comment this week that after the message was typed, it was time for me to go out into the fields (literally, as we took a walk) and talk to God about what had just happened. I realized that there was something in the first chapter of Jonah that finally got the symbolism of Noah, Daniel, and Job through to me. And as I prayed and talked with God, I realized that every time I have had to come back home, as it were, like this I was greeted by Satan trying to make a mess of things. And like clockwork, I was not disappointed.
Monday morning, a car problem- somewhat minor, but certainly annoying- that we thought was fixed sufficiently (at least for our budget) had returned. When I got home that night, it was Laurie's turn with the kidney stone. And like mine, it gave her a day of hell, backed off, and then two nights later would return with a fury that none of mine had ever matched. I ended up sitting up with her till 3 AM (give or take an hour's dozing) before it had said, okay, I'm done, and let her pass out.
In between, I had an incident with my machine at work. It was not walking the straight and narrow, and got progressively worse until it was shredding things like Taz. We tried a host of fixes between me, Maintenance guy, Facilitator guy, and Plant manager. Finally, the blade- a brand new blade I had just put in that morning (hint hint)- snapped. Hm, thought they. Perhaps it was this bad blade all along, that had just been unwilling to break until now.
So I changed the blade, and when I did, I saw that I had PUT THE STUPID THING ON WRONG.
I would like to believe that some daemonic force had moved the spacer that I could change correctly in my sleep. But truth likely is that I WAS changing it in my sleep, or something very close to it. At this point, the "bad angel" pops up on my shoulder and says, "Change it quick, so no one sees." As the "good angel" was still at breakfast at the neighborhood diner, this is what I did.
And very quickly, my mind's ears were filled with, Satan's laughing. I looked at the situation and said, "You screwed up. Are you gonna let it ride?" After several minutes of, "I'm NOT going to go around fixing this now", I finally said, "Look, stupid. You need to fix this. As soon as this marker's done, send Plant manager an e-mail confessing."
Moments later, it was Maintenance guy who came over. "I have a confession, " I said.
He listened, and laughingly said, "Well we won't tell no one. All the other things we did needed done anyway. It was several issues that all came to a head at once." As indeed it was; the vacuum was off, the belt was bad and getting worse, connections needed checked. And I patted myself on the back that I had done my due diligence.
Or had I? The thought kept bugging me, and I wasn't really sure if it was my conscience or Satan's teasing that I was hearing. About 10:20, I had had enough. "Lord," I prayed, "I need a Gideon moment, and I'm fresh out of sheepskin. If I need to further confess, let Facilitator/Plant manager come over here by 11, and I will confess. If not, then I will accept that You are satisfied."
Within ten minutes, Plant manager came over.
"I have a confession..."
And this brings me back to why it was so hard to get to Sunday's point in the first place- the Jonah thing. See, Jonah was faced with doing something for God he'd rather not do. So, he ran, and disaster ran after him. And how did that get resolved?
Jon 1:8 And they said to him, Please tell us on account of whom has this evil occurred to us? What is your work? And from where do you come? What is your country, and of what people are you?
Jon 1:9 And he said to them, I am a Hebrew. And I fear Jehovah, the God of Heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land.
Jon 1:10 And the men were terrified with fear and said to him, What is this you have done? For the men knew that he was fleeing from before the face of Jehovah, because he had told them.
Jon 1:11 And they said to him, What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm from being upon us? For the sea was going on and being stormy.
Jon 1:12 And he said to them, Take me up and throw me out into the sea. And the sea will be calm from being upon you. For I know that this great storm is upon you on account of me.
Jon 1:13 But the men rowed to return to the dry land, but they were not able, for the sea was going on and being stormy against them.
Jon 1:14 And they cried out to Jehovah, and said, We beseech You, O Jehovah, we beseech You, do not let us perish for this man's life, and do not lay innocent blood on us. For You, O Jehovah, have done as You desired.
Jon 1:15 And they lifted Jonah up and threw him into the sea. And the sea ceased from its raging.
These days, the more common phrase would be "throwing oneself under the bus," but it plays out the same. Getting ahead in the spiritual walk sometimes REQUIRES- not requests- that we throw ourselves under the bus, and take the consequences. Last week, I had been unwilling to apply the lesson to me, and had to get thrown off the boat to see it. And I had walked right back onto the boat. Like Jonah, I hadn't figured out that the solution was not to get on the boat in the first place.
I got it now. Hopefully, I'll also have it the next time my "good angel" orders that second stack of pancakes.
Oh, and Facilitator guy? He reads this page sometimes. Here it is.