Why Am I So Human?
by Beverly Brown, Set Me Free Ministries Prayer Coordinator
Last week I found myself reading James. God always seems to know right where I'm living and zaps me with His Truth. Man, that hurts!!
A week ago Saturday, I helped move my son from his apartment in Lincoln to his new apartment in Bellevue, Nebraska. We were going to take a much needed lunch break, and I had the great idea to order sandwiches ahead, go pick them up, and then be on our way again. But that isn't exactly what happened. After calling ahead, I arrived about 10 minutes later and was told they were just starting my order. No problem! I stood over to the side and waited patiently. And then I waited and waited and waited and waited–still patiently. Until … I saw a couple walk in, and a few minutes later, their sandwiches were ready. I was a bit annoyed at that point, so I walked up to the counter and in a not-so-friendly voice and said, "Can I ask a question? How is it that the couple who came in at least 15 minutes after my order was taken is already seated and eating, and I'm still standing here waiting?"
A young woman came up to the counter and gave me an excuse that I wasn't accepting. Something about training new employees and the order slips getting mixed up, etc., etc. My frustration took over, and I let her know I was not pleased. I think I said something like, "I could have gone to a sit-down restaurant and been served faster than this!" I asked if she was the manager, and when she said no, I told her I would be contacting someone about this injustice.
I got my sandwiches and walked out the door still fuming. When the hungry movers called to see where I was, I released all my frustration on them over the phone and let them know lunch was on its way–finally!
I walked in the door, still angry and venting. As we sat down to eat my son-in-law asked me one simple question: "Have you ever worked in the food industry?" Immediately, I began to start to see things from a different perspective. I still tried to justify my anger, but it wasn't so easy. Yes, I had to wait thirty minutes for my food. But in the grand scheme of things, what difference did it really make? We were able to sit down in a clean kitchen (kind of) and eat a healthy, filling lunch. I should have been thanking God for His provision instead of getting angry at the person who handmade that filling lunch for us.
I also had thoughts of the mothers and fathers in Sudan who are watching their children starve to death for lack of food. They would gladly wait thirty minutes for a morsel of food to help ease the hunger pangs of their families. What did I have to complain about? Nothing!
So what did I read in the book of James that zapped me? Chapter 1:19-26: "Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God … receive with meekness the implanted word of God…. If anyone thinks he is religious but does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless."
I may have to go back and apologize to that young woman who was just doing her best that day. I was certainly not doing my best.