This morning I left my house later than I should have to go to work, and the line of traffic was long. Neither of those things is unusual, in case you are wondering.
Almost as soon as I got into my office, the phone rang. It was Janet.
Janet is our company’s CFO, and she is an Accountant’s accountant. The numbers have to match down to seven decimal places. Details are her currency, life blood, and lover. She has a constant fear of auditors, regulations, and other such bureaucratic notions and concerns.
Now, I have a hard time with anything above basic math, and I may as well have a tattoo of the phrase “Eh, close enough!” on my arm. It’s my motto.
Basically, Janet and I are caricatures of people that will not get along in a professional setting. And lately I have felt as though my fast and loose ways are under special scrutiny from her magnifying glass and log books.
Back to the story…
So my phone rang, I saw that it was Janet, gave an exasperated “harrumph” and answered.
“Oh hi. Can you come down to my office? I need to see you about something,” she says. She never says that. That’s way too vague for her. She actually lacks the ability to be passive aggressive because such “confrontation” lacks the requisite detail.
“Of course, I’ll stop by in a few minutes,” I say, then wipe the Unctuous from the phone before setting it down.
I take my sweet time, shuffle a few papers, grab a cup of coffee, greet my other colleagues, and then head to Janet’s office. I’m already loaded for bear, a bandolier of “how dare you question that purchase!” bullets strapped across my chest.
It’s. About. To. Go. Down.
I walk in, at which she immediately smiles, hops up from her chair, and hands me a brown paper bag. It was a lunch sack. She had gone to a favorite deli of hers last night, and made me a special ham and turkey sandwich. The bag included chips, and an apple, and a cookie.
What could I say? Well I managed to say “thank you,” a bunch of times, in between her describing in CPA-like detail, in just the way she can, this deli, how she discovered it, the quality of the smoked turkey, etc.
Suddenly it was a beautiful moment, made even more so by the fact that, in my haste this morning, I forgot to grab something for lunch and would have otherwise spent $10 on food from our building’s cafeteria.
I’m reminded of my favorite selection from my favorite daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.
The selection is from January 9th, called “Intercessory Introspection.” It’s worth reproducing here at some length.
The great mystical work of the Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality which we cannot get at. Read the 139th Psalm; the Psalmist implies – “Thou art the God of the early mornings, the God of the late at nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea; but, my God, my soul has further horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature – Thou Who art the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at – my God, search me out.”
Do we believe that God can garrison the imagination far beyond where we can go?
Read the rest here: http://utmost.org/classic/intercessory-introspection-classic/
Personally, I love Chambers’ paraphrase of the 139th Psalm. But the original – at least the NIV translation of it – is good, too. I’ve cherry-picked a few verses from the chapter, and encourage you to read it in its entirety.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Read the rest here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139&version=NIV
I’m quick to put people in “boxes,” people like Janet. It’s easier than trying to understand them, and appreciating the subtleties of their character, and loving them in ways that you can only do when you truly know them – the very ways that God demands we love each other.
Similarly, I try to put God, and his love for me, in a box. “Oh, well God doesn’t do that. He does this, and acts this way, and not that way. Ho-hum, I’m so wise, I know all about God.”
Then God washes my feet. Or has Janet bring me a sandwich. Sometimes, and some days – like on 2/4/15, that’s the same thing.
What’s the box look like, the box you’re trying to place God in? Who is your “Janet”? And what will God really do when I – when we – let him be the God he so desires to be for us?