I sat on the tailgate of our pick-up truck outside of town and watched a huge storm come together. I could see for miles as it formed over the vast space of Kansas prairie. The low hanging clouds looked like the underside of an egg carton and had an ominous, stunning, reddish color. The cool breeze was a welcome relief at the end of a hot and humid summer day. I was newly wed and had just moved to Kansas with my husband who was gone on a military field exercise that day. Unfortunately, he left this naive German girl without any instructions about the dangers of this type of storm. While my neighbors headed for the basement I headed for the hills to watch a storm. It was only when the color suddenly drained from the sky and the breeze turned violent that I became scared and headed home. On the news I heard of a tornado that touched down close by.
I was reminded of this adventure the other day when a tornado of a different kind almost touched down at our house. Hot air was rising in attitudes and demeanors. Faces that were normally bright became flushed with strange colors as the conflict grew. I was getting angry about the negative attitudes toward me and felt disrespected. Unlike in Kansas, this time I took shelter immediately. I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I texted a couple of my friends and asked for prayer.
There on my knees in my bathroom I sensed an unlikely answer:
“Why are you offended? Do you really deserve respect?”
Luke 17:5-10 came to mind.
The apostles asked for Jesus to increase their faith. I wonder if Jesus’ answer took them by surprise. He told them that they only needed little faith to accomplish great things. Did they already have what they needed but didn’t exercise it?
Then Jesus told them a parable. He asked them to identify with a certain master over servants. However, He suddenly turned the tables and let them know that they were not like this master, but like the servants. He reminded them that their duty was to serve, not be in charge. He explained to them that the way to more of God was less of them.
When the storms of life hit me, I am tempted to exercise more of me. I tend to dig deep to find more of myself. I pull my spiritual boots up and try to be strong in my faith. My human nature tries to overcome the storm by a matching force. I fail to realize the power of God and that the way up is the way down – to my knees, acknowledging my need for Him. Here my demands for respect and being heard turn quickly into recognizing His greatness and that I depend on Him for everything. Only in humility can I understand that He deserves to be served. This attitude toward God quickly relieves the heat on which storms feed.
I praise God that nothing touched down in our home the other day – except weak knees on a bathroom floor. The only damage to report was a crush to pride. I think that just might be how storms pass.
“So you also, when you have done all
that you were commanded, say,
“We are unworthy servants,
we have only done what was our duty.'”
“Lord, help me to do my duty as Your servant.
Help me to love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and body
and love those around me in true humility!”