It all started with a blanket and pillow.
Yup. That simple.
But here, I’ll give you more background. Every year my Bible school holds a Bible Reading Marathon. For three days straight we read the Bible out loud. It’s great.
Well, last year I left work after midnight and threw on my favorite sweater to join the night watch portion of the Bible reading. I had done the math and I knew if I spent 4 hours during the night watch I could go home and sleep and actually get MORE hours of rest before school than if I just went home from work and got up for my 6am. (It helps to be me sometimes.)
Anyway, there I was, just me and my sweater, roughing it out in the night hours. Most students who do this bring air mattresses, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags – the works – they go all out. There’s coffee for those who drink, but since I don’t its kinda irrelevant. I started out in a chair, but around 2am I was curled up in a corner in the back, using my backpack and coat as a pillow.
Somehow I fell asleep. I’m not sure how long. You know the I-just-crashed-on-a-hard-floor feeling? Yeah, I felt it. So I sat up and behold– there was a blanket and pillow sitting next to me. Just sitting there. Like it had been placed by a little pillow fairy or something. [Random fact: I think the blanket had scooby-doo on it].
Now, most people at this point would have been rejoicing. There would have been shouts of praise and maybe a few hallelujahs. This was a gift from the Lord (and whoever put it there for me) after all.
But no. No. I was mad. Absolutely angry. Fuming. I know, it sounds terrible right? But, I was mad because of one thing:
I looked weak.
I looked like I needed something. I looked unprepared. Someone had walked by and seen me and pitied me.
So I just sat there, blanket and pillow sitting next to me on the floor. In my pride I refused to touch them. Then, in that quiet, poking way that He does so well, the Holy Spirit asked me, “how many other gifts are you refusing to receive from me out of your stubborn pride?”
Dang. He sure got me.
It’s my pride that doesn’t want to look weak. It’s my pride that doesn’t want to need help from anyone. Ever. Just a heads up, self-sufficiency is a killer to your relationship with God. He always meant for us to need Him. Its the connection, the conversation that He’s after. When we think we can do it without Him, or pretend we can by trying to, we step out of the conversation. Our salvation is built on one thing: His mercy. We are utterly dependent, in-need, hopeless people, with nothing to offer, and nothing to bring to the table. We need Him.
As God was trying to show me, I was holding something that He wanted to give me at arms length, refusing to receive it. Just like the blanket and pillow sitting next to me, I was not accepting something that He wanted me to have because it made me look weak.
To wrap up the story, I begrudgingly pulled the blanket over me and put the pillow behind my back, and as I did (though I was still grumpy) I said in my heart, “Okay, God. I’ll receive what you’re trying to give me”.
[Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out what happened next]