Yesterday, I was driving home with KFC in my car. I was craving chicken because the night before, Jake and Alan were eating chicken on Two and a Half Men.
So the chicken’s in my car, I’m heading home when this old lady turns into the street cutting me off. I was in a hurry, because I wanted my chicken hot and crispy. And, it’s been a long day, and I was hungry. Not good excuses, but nevertheless, I felt that I was in a hurry. Besides, there were no cars behind me. She could’ve waited after I passed.
What made it worse was that she… was… driving… sloooooooow.
I did what any normal person would do at this moment. I didn’t slow down, and I followed her as close as I could.
A few seconds later, I realized that I was acting irrationally and warm and crispy chicken wasn’t really worth a possible rear-ending on my part.
So I backed off considerably. As I now saw the entire car, I spotted a bumper sticker on the car. Her sticker said “Honk if you love Jesus.” I groaned and rolled my eyes because of how I feel about these corny bumper stickers and bumper sticker theology.
But, I felt bad about tailing her for a brief moment. And, I figured, why not show her some love in the name of Jesus (and bumper sticker theology). So I lightly tapped my horn for Jesus’ name.
… and the old lady totally gave me the middle finger.
It was perfectly understandable. She probably thought I was honking at her for cutting me off. And I sort of tailed her for a little while. She was probably real stressed out about the whole ordeal of her cutting me off and me following closely, that she forgot that on the back of her car is a sticker that says “honk if you love Jesus.”
I’ve had a whole day to think about what transpired (and an illustration for a future sermon).
And I realized how many times in my life I gave God the proverbial middle finger. I assume that the lady forgot that she had that bumper sticker on her car, like how we often forget God’s presence in our lives. When we’re stressed out, in a hurry, extremely busy… how often have we forgotten Jesus in our lives?
Not only that, how many times have God called us to do something, and we respond by either ignoring or doing the complete opposite, and in a sense, flipping the Big Guy our tiny middle finger?
When I was living in Hawaii, I was driving to Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff for a church activity the next day. It was about 9pm. (Wal-Mart in Hawaii is open 24 hours).
As I was at a light in front of the entrance to the shopping center, I saw a man with his head in his hands sitting at the bus stop right across from me. Everything about his body language screamed out “DISTRESSED.” And then, I had this urge to go speak to the man. It was more than an urge. It was an urge accompanied by a voice “Go talk to him.”
But I didn’t want to. What would I say to that man?
What if he was crazy? What if he just done something so horrible that I’d be obligated to call the cops, and because he knew I’d be obligated to call the cops, he’ll just off another witness to the horrible thing he had done?
No. I couldn’t talk to him.
I drove away and didn’t think about it again.
… Until I was stopped at a red light to exit the shopping center after spending an hour or so at the Wal-Mart. The man was still there. But this time, he had a cup of coffee next to him and looked even more defeated. And this time, it was more than an urge and a voice. Now the urge and the voice was accompanied by what I can only describe as an intense strange warming of my heart. I’m sure what Wesley went through was a much milder version of this. I literally had a difficult time trying to breathe. I knew I had to talk to him. I had no idea what I was to say, what I was to accomplish. But this was definitely God’s way of getting my attention to go speak to this man. But the same fear and excuses lingered: fear of talking to a stranger, fear of talking to a stranger at night where witnesses may be scarce. But the more excuses I came up with, the more intense things got in my car and my heart.
So what did I do?
I swallowed the lump in my chest, took a deep breath… and I drove towards the opposite direction of where the man stay seated.
There are days when I look back and wondered what could’ve happened if I just followed that voice in my head.
I had absolutely nothing to lose and possibly so much more to gain. But I let my irrational fears and my desire to be comfortable get in the way of God’s will.
God said “Do this” and I basically said, “well… I think I’m just going to go home.” Which is probably the verbal equivalent to me flipping God off.
I truly regret not obeying. Something amazing could’ve happened. Or something completely ordinary could’ve happened. But either way, God would’ve been present in whatever happened. But I let that chance slip by.
And I’m sure that I am not the only one with stories like these.
I pray that we all, as followers of Christ, will put following God’s will over our own rationales and the desires to be comfortable.