Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rejoicing in Error

A few months ago I went on a gear buying frenzy at Cabela's. Armed with coupons and special offers, I went there weekly to build up a stockpile of cold weather sleeping bags and other equipment for what is coming down the pike. I was there so frequently that the manager knows me on a first-name basis.

After a certain number of trips, the manager said to me, "what can we get for you today?" I said, "you know, I have another coupon, and I've walked around the store for 30 minutes. I can't find anything else I need. I think I'm done."

If life is like Cabela's, should we be glad when we think we've figured it out? On a micro-level, should we even be glad when we think we have found the right bow or the right sleeping bag?

No, we shouldn't. In fact, the second we think we have it figured out, we need to repent. Being wrong isn't a bad thing. It's a terrifically good thing. When you are wrong, it means that someone has shown you something better. Because we are so far from God's perfection, when you think you are right, the most likely explanation is that you are in fact wrong, but also blind to that fact. Being wrong on something is easily corrected. Blindness is not so easily corrected. To date, I know of only one cure: approaching Jesus and being healed.

The other day I was approached by a godly man on the topic of a certain spiritual gift that I have never demonstrated. I intently listened for hours after we intersected by chance. This was not what I had intended my day to be spent on, and I had many other things to do. However, I consider opportunities like this to be interventions by God until proven otherwise.

These Jethro-like experiences do not occur often. For some (most?) they don't occur at all. Why? We are convinced we are right, and/or we want to interact with God on our terms, not his. God requires you to drop everything when he tries to speak to you. How? Well, in his subtlety. He usually doesn't force anything on you. He gently, quietly offers a gift. If you are too busy to receive that gift, or too haughty, he will retract it.

Sometimes the reason we reject the gift is because of how it is wrapped. The timing is terrible, or, if it is a person through whom it is offered, we think we are better than that person. That person violates our sacred cows.

Be like a child.

We ought to hope that, through our interactions with the word and with others, we are proven wrong frequently.