For a week or two I have been overdue to write my blog. I pride myself on staying on track to once per week minimum. Special emphasis on “pride”.
Where I have been writing on my Sermon On The Mount series has landed me next onto writing about “Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven”. I have been blessed in recent years from much wiser sources than I on this subject and looked forward to sharing some insights with someone such as you the reader.
But I sense that in the last few weeks that God has had a different agenda for my life, and I hope as I share what has been happening that it will in turn also be a blessing to you in the heart first and then the mind.
Almost two weeks ago I felt compelled to pray a dangerous prayer. My wife and I have worked hard in recent years in growing our family number and moving to Arizona. After being in this new state a while I went into my Masters in Social Work program, graduated and was hired with the same agency where I got my internship. Recently we were finally able to sell our house in Oregon and now it was looking pretty good for us to buy a new house and have plenty of profit to buy our own house warming gifts.
As I reflected on this, I felt a swell of satisfaction or accomplishment. “Look what I have done! I have really arrived!” But as I then reflected on how far I have come I renewed a swell of thanksgiving to God and then swelled with, “Uh-oh”. You see, I hoped through the years when I was divorced, poor and lonely that if God ever helped me out circumstantially that I would never be one of , “Those people”. Meaning I did not want to lose sight of the grace of God and that every good and perfect gift comes from God.
So I prayed a dangerous prayer. I asked, “Lord, I ask that you keep me humble”. I still struggled to get my words out because I liked the illusion of control and I also knew that God in His love may play hardball.
So he started answering my prayer. I had worked hard over the last several weeks with a client who had become very belligerent and manipulative as she approached graduation. I was humbled and angry that she was not appreciative of the hard work I had done with her. But I still took it was some grace. Sigh. Whew! It could have been worse!
But then the next week I was fired. Much of it I cannot get into due to the nature of the work I do with clients but suffice it to say that my manager mishandled information that had come to her and made a summary judgement of my abilities as a counselor despite evidence and perspectives that would indicate otherwise. I consider it a political firing far more than a clinically based one.
In the minutes before the firing I saw some signs that it was about to happen so I prayed to Mary for her intercession (in Protestant-ese I would say did a shout out for Jesus’s mom as a prayer partner). Overall, I took it well considering but still struggled with bitterness for the next several days.
But I should expand that there is “something about Mary”. She responded to the angel telling her about bearing the Son of God with “let it be done to me according to your word”. It was a shocking bit of news that was going to turn her life upside down but she just responded with praise and reflection of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. And from that Christ was formed in her. And from that same attitude Christ is formed in any of us when we say it and mean it.
Would I have been fired if I had not prayed that prayer? My guess is yes. But would I have had near as much grace in dealing with it? Not even close. Yes, my Father in heaven cares about my needs and those of my family. But most important in His agenda on earth is that holiness happens. We were made to worship the Father in spirit and truth with our words and our lives. And God loves us. Will we cooperate with His love? His agenda? What is stopping us? I hope as I prayerfully go forward in the job search that I will keep these questions close to my heart.