Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: He Gives and Takes Away
By Chris Miller
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A recent inner battle with God’s scary will still leaves me shaking my head in wonder.
Saturday morning, I awakened from a peaceful dream with the somber thought, “You’re not supposed to go see Wicked in Chicago.” I had been looking forward to this Broadway show for over a month. My friend, Katie, and I were taking the commuter train from South Bend to the Millennium Station near Ford Theatre.
The fall colors would be at their peak. I could imagine the city at its best with a sunny, clear blue sky and fluffy clouds gracing the familiar skyline. Didn’t God know how much I liked Chicago?
“What do you mean?” I mumbled in bafflement. “We’ve already got the tickets. Remember, they’re $138 apiece. I can’t get out of it now.” I figured it was just my imagination, hormones or something. To get my thoughts in a peaceful state, I decided to read from the Psalms. My boss had just shared Psalm 100 with me a couple weeks ago so I decided to start there. So far, so good,… then I ventured into Psalm 101.
Verse three in the New King James Version made me gasp. “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;…”
“Now, come on,” I thought. “The Duncans from church took their kids to see this play. It can’t be that bad,” I argued.
On my way to breakfast, I bargained further. “If you really don’t want me to go, confirm it to me again.”
At this point, I was hoping for absolute silence. A new ad came on the radio about two guys and their mutual funds. One man bragged about receiving a twenty-four percent return on his investments. Come to find out, however, his mutual fund bought into stuff like gambling casinos, porn sites, and books on the “art of witchcraft.” The message wasn’t lost on me.
“No, I can’t believe this. Why wouldn’t You want me to go Wicked? It’s just the prequel to Wizard of Oz. Remember, I grew up on that; it’s totally harmless. Give me a break. I know lots of Christian friends who saw it and loved it. I just don’t get this.”
After a conversation with a Christian mentor, I started putting the pieces together and saw God’s hand at work. He’d motivated my boss to share Psalm 100 with me the prior week. Otherwise, I would not have opened my Bible to Psalm 101 at all. WFRN, 104.7 was playing on the radio on the way to breakfast, at just the right time; I was running about five minutes late. My mentor had reminded me that we can’t always talk to other Christians to find out what we are supposed to do because God treats us an individuals. Slowly, I tried to accept the ever-increasing possibility that I was going to have to give up my expensive, much cherished ticket to see Wicked. It seemed as if my reoccurring fear of God’s will was justified.
In the midst of it all, however, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something pretty cool. A week or so before, I had been at my “Page Turner” book club meeting. Three of the fellow retiree teachers were taking a genealogy bus tour to Washington, D.C. They needed a fourth and asked me to come along. For $395, I didn’t need to think twice. On the way home, I had marveled at the closeness of my two trips: Wicked in Chicago on Halloween and the bus trip to Washington on November 5th. I’d struck it rich!
God must have chuckled a bit at my “counting the chickens before they hatched” mentality.
It was sure nice of Him, however, to “give” the Washington trip before he “took” the Wicked ticket away. How can I be afraid of a Heavenly Father like that?
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