Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Playing the Fool - From the Overflow

It was 1995, and I lived in full-blown rebellion. I'd made Jesus Lord and Savior of my life in August of 1994. But I'd slipped into sin again.

My parents warned me they'd kick me out of their house if I continued in my chosen path. I didn't listen. So they took me before the counsel of the Pastor and his wife. 

When she had the nerve to get in my face about my past, the steel door in my heart shut. Nothing else would get through. I was certain of it.

I left home that day, walked away from Jesus, and swore no one would ever speak to me that way again. Or I'd leave them, too.

I cried on my mom's leather jacket, even in the midst of my personal rebellion. The stains are still there to this day. I don't think she'll ever throw it away.

"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
 And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;" - Proverbs 9:7-8a

I hated my pastor's wife for almost a year after that. Her wisdom had no room in my heart. My strong-willed nature didn't need to hear it from someone who had no clue... She'd never been in my shoes. Wasn't she supposed to treat others with love and respect? My inner scoffer rose up. Wickedness abounded in my heart that year.

Until my life was threatened. I lived with my boyfriend in an apartment two hours from home. I knew before we moved that he had anger issues. I didn't heed wisdom's knock on my door, though. It took getting smacked in the back with a steel-toed work boot for not taking a full message down while half asleep to kick foolishness out of my heart.

That afternoon, the news went out over the local police scanner that I'd reported it. This didn't help my situation. When I got the nerve up to return to the apartment, I ended up in a choke hold against the wall. This scared the rebellion out of me.

The next morning, as I lay in bed and tried falling asleep after the graveyard shift at the local diner, wisdom spoke loud and clear. In a very fatherly voice. There was no mistaking God's call. "If you don't go home now, you'll never see your eternal home." 

I jumped from the bed, ran in the rain to the nearby diner and it's external pay phone, dialed my mother and begged for mercy. That evening, after I kissed my ex-boyfriend goodbye as he left for three days of work, I packed my things and left foolishness and rebellion behind.

"Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
 Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
 And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
 For by me your days will be multiplied,
 And years of life will be added to you.
 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
 And if you scoff, you will bear it alone." - Proverbs 9:8b-12 

I didn't have anyone to bear me up when I walked in that foolishness. The police couldn't help me because he didn't leave a mark. My friends couldn't protect me from him. They could only offer worldly advice. And worry about me.

But when I gave my life back to Jesus, heeding the call of my Father, years of life were added to me. I know if I hadn't left when I had, I would have died in my rebellion. The fear of the Lord was the beginning of my wisdom. Knowing Jesus has added understanding to my life.

And my pastor's wife? She's my spiritual mother. Even after I've flown the nest. I look up to her for guidance, wisdom and counsel. I always will. She certainly knew what she was doing that day she got in my face. Because of my rebellious heart, God knew I needed someone stronger than me to jolt me out of my foolishness. Just as the scripture says, she rebuked a (now) wise (wo)man, and I love her for it. 

Do you have foolishness in your heart today? Or have you found wisdom in the fear of your Lord? I pray it's the latter. If it isn't, there's still time to repent and get our hearts right with God. As long as we have breath in our lungs...but don't put it off! We don't know how long we've got! 

Graphic Courtesy of Florin Florea

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