I remember in high school when I didn't manage my time well and my father stayed up VERY late in the night helping me finish a paper. Though I had written the paper out longhand, only he could type fast so the poor guy was up most of the night making up for my poor use of time.
That is a bittersweet memory for me. Part of me wished he'd said, "sorry son, you're going to have to bite the bullet on this one". But the other half of me was very blessed to see my dad's skill AND sacrifice, and to NOT fail the class. Watching him type i remember thinking 'look at my dad's love for me, that he stays up and helps me even though he's got to wake up early'. Of course he would have been more than just in saying, "sorry son...".
This week that memory came back to me because I'd had a busy week and my sermon prep was pushed WAY too close to Sunday morning. Yes, I'd been reading and praying on the text early in the week, and there were things outside of my control that came up on Friday and Saturday, pinching my time. However, I could have better used my time mid-week so that I didn't have to stay up so late on Saturday night, wondering, "am I going to have the mental and physical energy to communicate what God wants me to say"? I was nervous that somewhere inside of me I expected that I would play a tune and God would say, "oh, are you saying it is time for me to dance?" instead of 'sorry son".
For this reason, I apologized to God late Saturday night that, like in high school, I felt that I had presumed upon His kindness. It was an honest "I'm sorry", feeling like he'd given me that memory in high school to say that I should be careful to put him to the test, especially when I only have limited mental and physical energies. So it was, when He began to help me put thoughts together late in the night, and at about 7am I found myself with a sermon that was something substantive and intelligible, I was thankful but humbled; like my earthly father, my Heavenly Father had stayed up. I deserved embarassment but in God's mercy, He gave the people the manna they needed.
This experience makes me ponder in what OTHER ways I presume upon God. Do i force Him to come through with money, energy, grace, protection, etc when I really should be exerting God-given wisdom, prudence, self-control and intellect? Do I respect the kindness of God, or do I just EXpect it?
In my heart I don't plan on continuing this habit .. expecting God is always going to 'come through'. Just like I shouldn't walk through downtown Durham with a racist slogan on my back, expecting Divine protection; or i shouldn't just go on a spending spree and expect 'God will provide'. But I am concerned that I am always respectful, always thankful, never presumptive.
This is the thought for the day...and one I feel is worthy of some additional reflection: in what ways do we presume upon God, realizing that one day we may push too far and he may lift his hands and say 'sorry son'.
Rom 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?