Thursday, April 8, 2010

Facing the Truth About Me

I am pig-headed.  (My husband is somewhere sucking oxygen and looking for a chair; he knows this about me.) 

My daily Bible reading has taken me to the Book of Acts, a book I've never read beginning to end, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorites, especially Chapter 13.  In Acts 13:16 Paul begins a little history lesson of the nation of Israel; he begins with their captivity in Egypt, using phrases like "God of Israel," "made the people great," and words like "chose."  All words to indicate just how special the people of Israel were to their Father.  Then comes the phrase that holds nothing back: "He put up with them."

Record scratch.  Squealing brakes.  Wait a minute, here.  These were God's chosen people, the elite.  These were the guys with beards as long as their robes, and sacrifices, and scrolls, and a mobile temple!  They fought for God and won His battles like nobody's business; they didn't have sexting and drug cartels.  In Exodus 32:9 God tells us His people were "stiff-necked," and He was to the point where He was ready to wipe them out because of it!  And, much to my dismay, pig-headed and stiff-necked seem to be synonymous -- "self-willed, obstinate, stubborn."  It was that everyday, willful nonsense that God found offensive; a ceaseless "returning to the same God-less, self-sufficient way" that irked their Father to the point of annihilating them!  In Exodus, Moses pleaded their case (I wonder if those self-loving people ever truly appreciated what he did for them?) and God continued "to put up with them."

Does this sound like God forcing a big sigh, shaking His head, hands on hips?  If God is anything like Scott, it does.  That is my wonderful husband's patient, tolerant, but relenting reaction when I insist on reaching the can of olive oil on the very top shelf, all by myself.  That is how Scott reacts when I hop up, mid-pedicure to get one of the kids a snack, instead of asking his help.  Like the Israelites, I will insist on "handling it."  Out of love?  Out of necessity?  Nope!  Out of the exclusively arrogant school of thought that tells me no one will do it as well as I.  That, my dear friends, is what pig-headed is all about.  And while my husband may "put up with it," maybe even plead my case as Moses did for his people, and my Heavenly Father may "put up with it," what benefits do I lose out on by being so arrogant?  What depths of relationship do I sacrifice by being stiff-necked?  Like snooping before Christmas, I forego the wonder of God's plan by insisting upon having control of everything, rather than trusting.

"He put up with them."  Is that really what I want my family to do -- put up with me?  Is that really the relationship I want with such an awesome, loving God?

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