This morning I received a phone call that made me sick to my stomach. Just as I was leaving for church. It was one of those, that’s not fair! moments. And to be honest, my first response was, VINDICATION! Or, in my daughter’s words, “Sue!” We’re a sue-happy society, aren’t we? Always grabbing, striving, manipulating, making sure we get our fair share.
My second response was to withdraw. You really can’t get hurt in a closet, right? But it does get pretty dark and isolating in there. And awful quiet. (I’m pretty sure it’s home to a few, hairy, eight-legged creatures, as well.)
And yet, there was a third response–the self-evaluating one. And in the end, this was what I chose because I realized (rather begrudgingly)…dead men don’t bleed. The very fact that I felt the need to be vindicated showed I hadn’t died to self. It was like God had placed a giant magnifying glass over my heart, revealing every festering tumor just waiting to sprout. And hidden deep in the left ventricle was a blossoming sprig of self-love. This earthly betrayal begged the question: Who are you really serving, Jennifer?
Ouch. Will I always fight against myself? This appears to be my greatest, apparently never-ending, battle. One that keeps popping up for a second round just when I’m ready to step out of the ring.
I’m reading God Meant it For Good by R. T Kendell, which is an indepth look at the life of Joseph, and as I was rehashing, gnawing, chewing, everything in my ever-spewing mind, I couldn’t help but think about Joseph’s life. In the beginning, he was all about the glory—self-glory. His brothers and father were going to bow down to him, remember? Now wouldn’t that be something? A few doting family members would go very well with his royal robe!
But God had other plans, and it took being tossed in a cistern, sold into slavery, dragged across the desert, and thrown into prison before Joseph got it. It wasn’t about him–it was about God. And Joseph? He was there to serve God–not the other way around. Oh, how we like to twist that one!
I don’t want to go into my story–okay, actually, I do, in a self-vindicating, listen what happened to me, sort of way–but I won’t. And it really doesn’t matter. We all deal with injustice or betrayal. Maybe we’ve slaved over a project only to have someone else get the credit, or maybe one of our team members fell down on the job and we had to carry the blame. It doesn’t matter. Our reaction to the event reveals the level of our spirituality. And our faith in God. Do we really believe He’s sovereign, even when humans are involved? Do we really believe He will work all things to good, or do we think He needs our help?
This event that caused me such angst? It was nothing more than a tool showing a hearts issue in need of a double-bypass. I’ll know the surgery’s done when the initial betrayal–or any betrayal–no longer causes me pain.