Almost a decade ago now I disowned God. I remember My life at the moment felt like a game of fifty-two pick up which had been disbanded before the pick-up part. I believed I had lost my ministry. My future seemed shrouded in a thick cloud of opaque nothingness. Emotionally I was probably close to being certifiable.
I cannot remember where I was. It may have been my office. It may have been my car. For all I know I may have been walking through the forest. But I do remember my stance.
I was defiantly shaking my fist at Heaven yelling, “You call this a plan God? I could do better! I’ve had it! I’m done!”
I want to offer a context for my writings, a frame that may help you to understand why I say things the way I do. Very little in life is random. Nothing in God is.
We are all coming from somewhere. We are all on our way somewhere else. Sometimes ,though, even we do not discern where we have come from or where we are going. Yet our personal geneses and our personal revelations always press us to an obedience of our destiny whether we understand their influences or not.
It is easy for me to write, “Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner”. It’s easy for me to write devotionally. In those writings I am dealing with objective truth. My own spin on that truth comes through the lens of my experience automatically. I don’t sit and wonder why I think the way I do. From my vantage point there seems to be no other way to understand the Scriptures.
When I decided to step back from the devotional blogs in order to write this “Getting To Know Me” series, I did not realize how much of a challenge I was extending to myself.
“Meet the Messy” was hard to write. It was even harder to review because I did not really see what the rest of the world was seeing until I looked at what you all are looking at. When I did see it, I wanted immediately to go back to talking about the Bible and get all my personal stuff back under the blanket of self-effacing verbiage. I don’t want anyone looking at me. I don’t want anyone to know me! Just take what I am saying at face value and if you don’t agree, well then you can…. Ah there it is; the reason I don’t want to be known. I want to be right. I want my context to be right all the time. I don’t want to accept that there may be times when my understanding is tainted by my experience and so I might be, dare I say it…WRONG!
Ephesians says that it is through the body of Christ that the manifold wisdom of God is made known (Eph. 3:10). Now in part that means that there is not any ONE of us in the church that has a corner on the truth. However we all through study and experience hold a piece of that many-fold wisdom.
This is why I believe it is important that you meet me a little. In understanding my context you can better understand how my little piece of wisdom fits alongside your little piece of wisdom.
It was a tradition that my wife’s family would make the trip every year up to Keene during the Cheshire Fair to watch the derby and the mud bogs.
The first time I went I was pretty sure I would hate it. Sitting for hours watching a bunch of beaters bounce into each other sounded almost as fun as chewing glass. But I loved my wife and she was excited. So off we went.
When we got to Cheshire we went right to the viewing stands. I kind of wanted to see the world’s oldest lobster but we had to be sure to get good seats. So in we went.
The sun was hot. The smell of beer and sweaty people mixed with dust in the wind making my nose tickle.
I remember to our left was a guy with earrings and a long grey beard sharing his Budweiser with his girlfriend. She was a grey blond wearing red leather pants.
To my right was a lady in her eighties. Her hair was dyed that strawberry blond old women wear sometimes. She wore thick glasses and her lips were painted with bright pink lipstick that rose around her lip lines to color the skin just under her nose and just above her chin. Her gnarled fingers sported matching pink nail polish. She drank beer from a coke glass as she bantered good naturedly with my wife.
We had about an hour to wait. So I opted for a hot dog with the works and a glimpse at the lobster.
As I returned to my seat I noticed the little old lady had donned a rain slicker with a rain hat. She looked like a wizened version of Paddington Bear. I also noticed that the derby arena was covered with puddles.
“It’s starting!” My wife said enthusiastically tapping the seat next to her for me to sit.
Soon the cars were revving around the track. I have to admit I was filled with a certain sadistic pleasure every time I watched one driver smash into another. As round after round progressed I chose my favorites.
Soon I was yelling with the rest of the crowd, “Crush ’em! Watch out behind you!”
As the cars sped around the derby track they kicked up the mud and Tina and I were splattered with thick gobs of brown pasty demolition poo. At first I thought about mugging the little old lady for her Paddington Bear outfit. Then there came a point where the dirt no longer bothered me. I stopped feeling it, but it was there. After the derby ended and the mud dried I began to get itchy. I was pulling chunks of dirt out of my hair all the way home.
On that day when I disowned God I was covered with spiritual mud and did not even realize it. I had become caked with spiritual poo and when it dried I could no longer sense anything of my God. with only the bitterness of soul that comes with disillusionment to guide me I made a decision that would cause me weeks of pain afterwards. But God was ever faithful and He kept washing me with the water of His word which I had hidden for so many years in my heart.
Two weeks after leaving God I was back on my knees. Again I cannot remember where I was, but I remember my words:
“God, You are everything to me. I have served You too long and everything I am is now tied up in You. If I am to leave then I have nothing: No purpose, no identity, no life. Please forgive me.”
Friends, I have gotten spiritually muddy since then but with much different results. I will never leave God again no matter what happens. My love for Him is based on decision not feeling.
Now my love for the demolition derby…well that’s all about feeling. But I think that at least is O.K. with God.