Have you ever been to a carnival or arcade and played Whack-a-Mole? You know, it's the game where there are multiple holes out of which little mole heads pop up at random times. You stand there whacking away, trying to keep them all down. The faster you go, the faster they pop up until you're frantically flailing at all these heads.
So, I woke up early this morning and lay in bed playing a few rounds of spiritual Whack-a-Mole.
Wait, let's get one thing clear before I go on. I know I'm redeemed and thoroughly forgiven. I know I'm positionally clean before God, by the cleansing blood of Christ, my Savior. I'm good with all that.
But I carry around this sin nature that's still prone to pop up like those mole heads, sometimes fast and furious.
I start thinking about something that happened in the past, focused on an injustice done to me or a misjudgment made regarding my character or behavior. I'm the star of my show. I usually start writing a beautifully phrased letter or email in my mind, addressed to someone I believe needs to have things 'clarified'. It's not long before I'm totally focused on the circumstances and the injustices, seething with emotions, accusing others right and left, and just generally over-the-top angry all over again. A fat lot of good my clarification has done.
I'm not praying to God--I'm complaining. I'm not petitioning Him--I'm kvetching. And of course, about that time I sense His displeasure with me, and begin to realize that I'm doing it again. My spiritual version of Whack-a-Mole has become its own art form.
"I remember when he..." Up pops anger. "Sorry, Lord. Forgive me and help me to be patient." WHACK!
"She had the gall to say..." Up pops criticism. "Oh, Lord, give me a heart of real forgiveness." WHACK!
"He did that to me on purpose..." Up pops hate. "Lord, help me to love others as I love myself." WHACK!
"She's smart as kelp..." Up pops a malice. "Lord, I need to be kind." WHACK!
"I spent six years doing that and they treated me like..." Up pops pride. "Father, I repent. Grant me humility." WHACK!
"I should actually send this letter..." Up pops discontent and resentment. "Sweet Jesus, help me to trust you for what I need and let go of what I think I should receive in this life I live." WHACK, WHACK!
Up pops rebellion, slander and envy. "Dear Heavenly Father, my Savior, I surrender control of my life, and ask You to forgive me for this black hole in my heart." WHACK, WHACK, WHACK!
"PLEASE RELEASE ME FROM THIS PLACE OF STRIFE!"
And He does.
Sometimes I get going fast and furious, thinking I can just pray it all away, but you know what? My sins can just overwhelm me. Yes, of course I need to sort them out with the Lord, pray them through, be honest and clearheaded.
But in the end I need to stop, give in and let Him take it all away. The Lord may not change the circumstances around me, but He'll change me in the circumstances.
Today the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 130:3-6.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
And so I wait. Amen.