I was quite caught up in my self-righteous self-seeking prayer. I was mid-sentence asking for God’s judgment to fall when… He interrupted me.
In my very super spiritual way, with holy sounding words, I was seeking revenge. Since God said it was His, I was asking Him for it. And since no one’s wrath matches His and since I was burning inside with my own anger– I thought He might be inclined to help a girl out.
Pour out some of that wrath. Hand out some of that vengeance. I was hoping for some thing with an Old Testament ring to it. You know some kind of act that left my enemies being washed away in the river and my friends safe on the shore land. I was not necessarily asking for death, but I wanted my side. I wanted ME shown as being in the right.
In case you are wondering how that worked out, need I remind me you?
I think the fact that I was seeking revenge through God’s will helped me forget that my prayers were at the very core full of selfishness and greediness.
I guess that is why God felt the need to interrupt.
All I was wanting for the sinner, the one who hurt my friends, was to be reprimanded. Well and for them to not be allowed to control the lives of people who are just trying to live out God’s will.
To bad for me, the sinner God was choosing to reprimand that day: was ME.
If you have never been interrupted by God, let me tell you, the whole world stops. God is sort of funny, He does not always carve His will right there into obvious stone. Sometimes He expects us to look it up; I guess He figures He gave us the Bible for a reason and that we should use it.
Love. I could feel it. I could hear it. I was supposed to respond in love.
I will be honest and say that if the offense had been directed at me it would have been much easier to respond in love. Call me overprotective, but true friends do not come as easy as you might think. And some things are worth protecting.
I knew how God wanted me to respond. And much to my own dismay I realized that if God was speaking that to me, and interrupting me to make sure I heard it.
I had to listen. And obey. But how?
So, I looked up some passages. And wouldn’t you know it? Love is the choice response. (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 5:38-48) But how do you respond in love? To an offense that has torn a bitter hole in your heart?
You heap burning coals over their head.
Because the response of love is so surprising that it shocks the system. You react in the strength of His loving kindness.
The scripture says that God sought us while we were yet sinners. Do you remember when you realized the state of your sinfulness? Do you remember that moment of shock and awe? The shame.
The surprise, I remember the surprise. I had heard the Gospel preached my entire life- all six years. I could probably even have shared it with you but it never made sense until one night when God heaped burning coals of kindness over my head.
Jesus brought reconciliation. His death meant salvation. My acceptance of His gift meant that I am no longer a slave to my own passions. When someone wrongs me I do not have to respond by the whims of my sinful desires.
I can pray for God to heap burning coals of loving kindness over their heads. Beg God that they experience the healing power, the shock and awe, the glorious hope of salvation through the one and only way. Jesus Christ.
Now I am not praying for my will. I am seeking God’s –I will admit my prayers flowed much easier when I was asking God for what would glorify me and mine. But somehow I think God prefers the stumbling prayers of a redeemed child. Who quite distinctly remembers that wonderful moment when she realized her ragful state. And cried out not just for a Savior and Lord but for a friend. And who was then clothed in a joyful peace.
Come to think of it, I am quite thankful for a God who interrupts so loudly.
Because choosing to demonstrate God's love is choosing freedom from self.
And yes, this is one of those times, when I have to respond and say, “Thank you God for interrupting. Now, please help me to live it.”