Scripture Shrapnel

As I was leaving Walmart yesterday and zipping down the street, I saw a man with a sign. You know the one. Only this time was different. This man had two little girls with him. Grubby little girls. In ill fitting clothes. With wild hair. And dead eyes.

Still, my cynical nature was the first to rise in response, accusing this man of using these children to gain sympathy, and probably raking in the bucks a la Fagan. As I continued to drive I began to hear a layered, simultaneous, and multi-voiced cacophony of…this…

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Luke 18:3-5

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

“If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:16

“Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.” Acts 3:6

“Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10

“…the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3

“No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32

“Do to others as you would have them do to you” Luke 6:31

Under that kind of pressure…what would you do?

After my short encounter with this sad, precious little family, I drove away and cried. For them. For me. For Christ. And because my brain was bleeding! Every one of those verses was the answer to an argument. You can review them later if you’d like to infer my side of the conversation. Still, I rejoiced through it all that I could hear the Spirit reminding me of all that He had been teaching me this week, and for once…I obeyed (glory!!). What choice do we have when scripture is exploding in our heads like a bomb!? Thank you Holy Spirit! Thank you.

post script (which is really the script) – It occurs to me that I sincerely do not want to lose my reward from this rare act of obedience by writing about it here as if proud. I fear I have far too little treasure in heaven that will survive the test. My objective here was not prideful boasting but rather, I simply wanted you to know that the experience of hearing the Holy Spirit is both intensely uncomfortable and deeply comforting. If you’re new to this life, hearing from God can sound exactly as I’ve described it - like a bomb going off in your head, shooting shrapnel through your grey matter! Other times it’s a quiet ripple on the stream of your conscious mind. Sometimes it overlaps so rapidly that you haven’t finished “hearing” one verse when He begins the next one, but somehow you comprehend the entirety of both. Sometimes it’s just one phrase resounding over and over. Sometimes it’s the abrupt awareness of a fully fleshed idea or concept that you’ve been mulling over for a couple of days, or weeks, or months, or years (He is faithful!). No matter which experience, if what you’re hearing is God’s Word, and it sounds like the daily bread you’ve been eating, and what you’re feeling is intense pressure to conform to that Truth…it is the Spirit at work within you (JOY!). And it’s a test. Every time. And it’s a step toward holiness if you obey. Change comes on the heels of obedience, not the other way around. Argument and justification and reasoning will not relieve the pressure, but if heeded will bring regret. Take my word! Just do it - just do what the Spirit and the Word are compelling you to do and leave the result to God. Do the thing that seems foolish to your own understanding, for God’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom. In the end obedience to the bomb is the only path to peace.