Saturday, July 08, 2006
The Downside of the Mountain
There are times when I just hate having those “spiritual highs”…you know what I mean…those mountaintop experiences. The ones where I firmly know and feel God’s presence in my circumstance. Where I’m confident of God’s love for me and His power to work in my situation.
Now you may be saying “Are you crazy Susan? How can you hate that? Isn’t that what we all hope for and work towards?”
Well I love the experiences in the moment….and even as I reflect back after the fact. But almost always…like clockwork...shortly after that mountaintop comes the downside of the mountain.
Today was a “downside of the mountain” kind of day. The last couple of days were ones in which my faith was encouraged and strengthened. Through God’s Word and through His people…and through the Holy Spirit within me.
One thing I can bank on…is a spiritual attack by the enemy Satan. Mind you, he is a defeated foe…but still wreaking havoc whenever and wherever he can. His favorite instruments are doubt, unbelief, hardness of heart that leads to disobedience, and of course…one of his all time favorites is people.
I could have called today “Weepy Friday” because after my encounter with a rude person…I found it hard to concentrate and keep my focus…and found tears creeping into my eyes as I thought about the experience.
Now I know that it’s not wise to deal with people and situations based on my own wisdom. If I did that I would be yelling back, or talking about what happened with everyone, or be unforgiving. Like my posting from yesterday said…human wisdom is futile. Instead I need to forgive a wrong done to me. I can do that, only with the help of God. Even as Jesus forgave those who crucified him…so too I need to forgive…and I do.
I also know that this person is in need of prayer. A reputation precedes them…and I find I am not the sole recipient of rudeness. I normally take rumors about people with a grain of salt…knowing that there are all sorts of facts that are not conveyed during the course of a rumor. But I do believe in actions. What I don’t know is what motivates those actions or the reason behind them.
I think you can tell a lot about a person in how they treat people who are under them…or in a more lowly state. Almost everyone can treat a person of authority with respect…whether it’s due them or not. Most folks are going to be courteous to the police officer, or their parent, teacher or boss.
Where the rubber meets the road is how people treat people under them. Have you ever watched a parent be demeaning and degrading to their child but when an adult passes by they are polite and nice as can be. Or at a business luncheon…people friendly and jovial with one another. But when the waitress comes along…they are critical, dismissive and rude. They treat them as if they aren’t even fit to shine their shoes.
What I don’t understand is why that behavior is tolerated. Why would you make allowances and just accept that kind behavior as acceptable? I’m not taking about someone having a bad day…or an occasional outburst of frustration. But I’m taking a regular pattern of rudeness.
When you don’t address an issue like that…all you are doing is ensuring that the behavior will continue. Others will be the recipient as well….and they may not be in a position of responding back. Do you think the waitress who is working to keep a roof over her head and feed her children is going to risk responding back to the rude patron?
In the long run…when you don’t address the issue, you are doing a disservice to the person who acts rudely. People don’t like them…and they will talk about them behind their back. They won’t be respected. Sometime people are clueless as to how they are perceived by others. If you give them the benefit of the doubt and gently, with respect and in love address the issue…that may change the situation. But obviously…it’s a situation that needs prayer.
Now back to the downside of the mountain…who benefits when I have wobbly faith. Who wins when I doubt God? When I doubt that God loves and cares for me? When I doubt His ability to work in my situation and bring good from it? When I feel hurt and pull away from God…and don’t read His Word? When instead of walking in peace and confidence, I’m fearful, scared and lacking trust? When I’m unforgiving and grumpy…or just down right ugly? Who exactly win?
Well I can tell you…it sure ain’t me.
It’s Satan. Satan that wins that skirmish. But thank you Lord…he has not, nor will he ever win the war. Because Satan is a defeated foe.
Now I can choose to believe the lies he tells. I can choose to believe the lies he tells me about God, about others and about me.
Or I can be mindful of God’s Word…and remember that Jesus Christ has crushed the serpent’s head. While the body may still be squirming and trashing about…that is short lived. Before long…he will be thrown into the fiery pits of hell for eternity. Yippee Skippy!
And here on earth…for a brief period I may have to endure the attacks of the enemy. But in comparison to my eternity in heaven…it will seem like nothing. When I face those attacks armed with the Sword of the Spirit…I can have victory through God’s power, strength and wisdom. Amen, amen and amen!
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