The bottom line of yesterday’s blog post is that God can’t trust us with his dreams until he can trust us with pain (particularly the pain that difficult people inflict).
My friend John was God’s instrument in my life. He disagreed with me in the most obnoxious way. He
was as sanctimonious as he was intelligent and when he would disagree
with me, he’d insert my name in his sentences like some kind of
punctuation mark: “So odd that you’d think that, Seth.” He’d say,
“Because that’s not very well thought-out and really shows a lack of
scholarship. Were you having a bad day, or are you always a dilettante,
And something inside me would say, “Don’t blow him off. He may
sound obtuse, but there’s gold in there if you’ll keep digging.” I determined to be more open to the pain that came my way through John on the off
chance it was God trying to loosen my grip on dreams he never gave me in
the first place.
But at various times, thinking about John, it was miserable as I had to wrestle with a low grade level of pain that might be better classified as “annoying,” like a pebble in your shoe. Irritating people are that way. People who don’t really have the power to hurt you because you don’t trust them, but for some reason (maybe they just weren’t blessed with people skills) they get under your skin.
The reality is, we’re all Pharisees lined up with accusations and stones we’re waiting to throw. On another day, I’ll be the pebble in somebody else’s shoe. Knowing that, I need to look beyond the person who is God’s tool, and try to see the reason that God put them in my life.
We can waste a lot of life tussling with difficult people who feel like a low grade headache throbbing away.
If you look for what’s really going on behind them, you’ll sense a shepherd whose final prayers were for the unity of his flock, whose first sermon was about forgiving difficult people, a Lord who loves you so much, he’s not going to make his narrow road any broader for you.