Trust, Missed Opportunities, and Angels Among UsGod will often send situations our way, not to test us, but to tap into our professed love of Him. You see, some of us so-called Christians are pretty sure of ourselves when we profess our faith. We boldly claim to believe the Bible and some of us make a pretty big deal about believing “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” as the Bible commands us to do. We tell God to “use us” for His glory; that we are “here for Him” to mold us and make us into what He wants and needs for us to be. We even profess that “we are the clay in Your hands O, Lord, and You are the Potter that molds us.”
So God seems to say, “OK, I will do as you confess.” The next thing you know, an opportunity to prove our word comes our way, and at the first chance we get to substantiate our confession, we totally blow it.
My family and I live on a farm with a main house and a small cottage. After graduating high school, my twin daughters moved into the cottage while they attend local colleges or pursue their early adult interests. I love having them close by, but being the protective fatherly type, I tend to keep at least one eye towards the cottage and its goings on. I have a small set of rules about what happens on our property which they seem to abide pretty well.
Well, one morning I needed to find something that I thought was in the main room of the cottage and decided to enter the cottage after only a brief knock. To my surprise I noticed the obvious form of a male person sleeping in one of the built-in bunk beds that sits off to one side of the little living room. My daughters don’t use either bunk, but sometimes their female friends will sleep over and use one. But the tennis shoes sitting beside the bunk bed were at least a size 13 (even though my imagination had them up to about size 18) and the corresponding form of a male sleeping in the bunk left no doubt that rule 1 had been broken.
The anger and rage in me was immediate. Now I rarely get angry, and when I do I usually retreat to figure things out and cool off before I say or do anything. This has kept me out of much trouble in life. So I quickly retreated back to the main house to inform my wife that I was too angry to confront the situation. I told her that “someone” should go over there and announce that this guy had better be gone or there was going to be trouble.
My wife took the task and made the announcement.
Well shortly thereafter one of my daughters came over to the house to explain the case. This guy was someone they both knew pretty well from high school. He had apparently been having many difficulties at home and was thrown out of his house the night before. It was a bitterly cold December night and this guy had nowhere to go. His plan was to wrap himself up and sleep on a bench or under a bridge. Somehow my daughters found out about his plight and decided to give the guy a warm place to sleep for one night until he could figure out what to do. Both daughters trusted him and figured that I would understand.
But even after hearing the story I was still angry and let my decrees about his immediate departure stand. I had the chance to back down, and to possibly show this guy some genuine kindness and perhaps a little love. But my anger boiled inside of me and I simply let the situation stand, assuming that this guy would be taken far away from my cottage.
There are two aspects of this that I regret. The first is that I did not trust my daughters enough in this situation. They have given me very little reason to distrust them, and although they have made a few slipups (as we all do), they have proven over and over again that they have matured very nicely into responsible adults.
The second aspect is more spiritual. I had before me a great opportunity to witness that day, and I blew it. I had an opportunity to show kindness and care for another human’s plight, but I chose instead to exercise my “right” to be angry. This goes against all that I thought I knew about faithfully professing God. First and foremost, I am reminded of Scripture in Hebrews 13, verses 1 and 2 which state:
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
Let brotherly love continue! Now this guy was obviously not an angel, but he certainly could have been guided into my care and hospitality by one.
There are also many other Scriptures about kindness and care for others which I violated that day. One of my daughters sent me an email later that morning with a few of them.
All I can say is, “O Lord how Your Word convicts and chastises us. I stand convicted O Lord, and ask for your continued mercy and grace in my life.”
Here is what my daughter sent to me; first she listed four groups of verses and then an explanation. I will close this post by letting her email stand on its own without further comment:
LUKE 6:35-38: But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”
Galatians 6:9-10: So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.
Proverbs11:24-25 One man gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. A liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Matthew 6:2-4 ”So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Daddayy…Jim (not his real name) was only and will only be here 1 night.
It’s the middle of December, who wants to sleep cuddled up on a bus bench… how was i just supposed to leave him there? My conscious couldn’t leave him in the cold. He was kicked out of his house on Thanksgiving. He’s been staying with friends and last night none of his ‘friends’ came through for him… He wouldn’t have asked for anywhere to stay if it wasn’t his last choice dad….. sorry I didn’t tell you, I didn’t think you’d understand at first.