I often feel spiritual heartburn. I suppose this is much like the tension that wells up inside every man that harbors the Love of the Almighty God inside of him. It’s a tension that calls out from God’s own heart, reeling at the site of gifts wasted, and destinies left dormant. It feels like a constant back and forth between celestial citizenship and straddling the fallen world we call home. It has a matter-of-fact hostility to it…one that winds these these two unlikely bed-fellows tight, instigating what feels like all the commotion needed for a Civil War.
Such wonderful disturbance sparred within my heart again recently, and I found God’s good anger teaching me to hate that which He hates. This lesson in righteous anger however did happen to go through me…which inevitably meant not all was going to go as planned (grin). I not only enticed a situation that has thrown people in jail for far less, but my heart also received a healthy doseage of God’s uncompromising fire…and minus the handcuffs, thankfully, I learned how to burn a bit more like He does.
It all began as I was… driving down the longest road in my still somewhat quiet hometown (Napa Valley). I was taking in all the new sights…The ever increasing Hispanic influence; The building that reach just a bit higher to the sky than they did when I was in grade school; Even just being observant enough to hear the simple buzz of people’s back and forth as Napa simply holds more than it did before. All of it was sensible, even a bit serene, if not for what was to follow shortly.
I just kept getting this squeezing sensation in my heart as I drove further and further down this road. It was not heartburn, as one of my very matter-of-fact friends filled in the blank as I shared this story earlier, but rather a divine kinling being thrown to the flame over being fired up to fight for people’s hearts, or simply being fed up enough to hand ’em over to the selfish ways.
It in precisely in these moments that I begin to loathe anything tame, anything even remotely reselmbling domesticated. This sensation increased as I stopped at every red light, which of course I hit every one. It amassed more as I saw safe, little, Starbucks goers sipping away what I imagined to be much of their wasted, inverted selfish afternoons/lives…and I suppose it climaxed as I saw this old lady trying to cross the street for what I surmise had been longer that she should have been standing at all.
This gaudy box of treasure called a Mercedes S class (the huge silver SUV) slowed down as it drew near to her crosswalk, and literally just as she started to shift her bobbing posture from its routine and allow her feet to start moving forward, the car sped up with revolutions that made her grab her chest, as I am sure she was caught off guard and frightened a bit. That car has determined she wasn’t worth the wait.
My heart, knowing full well that I was not deserving of the Lord waiting on me and finding me, began to swell with fire. I didn’t care if I deserved it or not, none of us did. How could someone go so out of their way to scare and ruin a gesture of humanity that would have taken no longer than 15 seconds to account for. Heck, they could have not even stopped for her to cross and just passed by without a thought…but they lured her in, and then with windows down, sped off and laughed…loud enough for me to hear it four cars back.
I decided not to chase down that treasure box and run it off the road, and opted instead to change lanes just so I could stop for this lady. I grinned inside as I made a line of 30 cars back up on a road that is not made to handle such congestion. I felt so good when I first saw her move out into the crosswalk…she didn’t do it with the overwhelming sense of gratitude, although that certainly was there…she did it with this sense of…thank you, and, I wish people had just done this earlier. That’s right old girl; you go right ahead with your bad self…My heart screamed…This was your slow, inheritance.
All that said, the moment passed as quickly as it came and I was back to driving down this road. The fire was not satiated though. Usually my fires go out when I take initiative and right the situation with some justice…in fact…up until this point, I can’t remember when my heart had exacted justice and not become more gentle than flammable. I was still livid. If you had seen me from the car across from mine you would have seen a very calm guy from head to toe, unless of course you caught my eyes. I felt like I was about a few seconds from blowing a blood vessel in my eye, which, I’m not gonna lie, I thought would have been a neat experience. (It’s a guy thing)
Next thing I know I see this police officer riding alongside me. He darts in and out of a few cars that are turning off our main road but for the most part keeps pace with me alongside the front of my car. I was so fiery at the time that all I could think was to yell at this cop for not doing something earlier about the situation with granny crosswalk. After all, I did see him parked at the corner of the street that was adjacent to Mercedes marauder. I imagined him being tame, not wanting to take off and track down a car that would just as easily pay such a fine as brush off the officer’s words altogether.
Clearly I was over-reacting, but something in me hated the fact that he might have been tame when he should have protecting someone. That anger should never have been channeled toward any one person, especially under such assumptive trappings, but for a few moments it did…Oh how id did! I turned up the loudest song I had on my C.D., rolled down the window that he was riding alongside, and allowed the music to blast this cop with sound-waves that I was secretly believing could knock him off his bike. He just gave me a long stare, complete with Aviator glasses and stretched leather from his head tilt. It was like something out of a movie.
The speed limit was 30mph, and so after we spent an eternity at the stop light side by side, I took off ahead of him and set the speed control to 35mph. I know, I know…not wise. It was almost as if I wanted to see if the same lackadaisical attitude that befell the crosswalk gal would roll its eyes at me in the 5mph ovet the limit grace zone. I saw him in my rear view mirror giving at least 3 or 4 looks down at his speedometer as if to double check that he was going the speed limit. He then slowly made his way up to me at the next red light. He creeped allong alongside so slowly you wold have thought he was interested in buying the car I was in. He jutted to a stop and asked me to turn the music down with a finger wag. I refrained from responding with an occasionally used finger wag of my own during my reckless youth, and turned the music down… a little bit.
He said to me, “Did you miss the speed limit sign?”With just enough hesitation to not seem too smart-alec I responded… “Nope, I saw it.” Now somewhere inside of me, despite the crazy anger that had come from the crosswalk lady and the selfish, domesticated aura of man strutting about my little town, cops not withstanding, I knew I was venturing into places that this anger had no place to be. I wore a face that I’m sure looked like, “Did you have anything else to ask me, or should I turn my music back up now?” Thankfully he just said, “You should slow down,” to which I nodded, in more of a gesture that said I heard him than of one of agreeance, and said, “Have a good day.”
So, for all you other flammable hearts for Jesus out there, and especially the ones like mine that don’t usually ever find themselves fuming like the story above, but raging nonetheless…Stay in that passion, but learn how to corral it and point it back at the Enemy before anyone else. There’s a fine line between those who start fire and those who wield smart fire. Court Lady Wisdom, and allow the Holy Spirit to keep you aflame in all the ways God’s heart burns.