When Jesus Walks Through the DMV taught me that God is sovereign over all – believers need not disdain any bureaucracy or authority. Obviously, He was preparing me for an agency even more despised, the IRS, who contacted me just before Thanksgiving. ‘We are auditing your taxes’, was the message in brief, and almost forgetting the lessons learned through the DMV I began to battle,
But underneath this fleshly response, my heart acknowledged, perhaps the Lord, who owns my life, has a godly reason for bringing me to the IRS.
“We need certain documents” they claimed and the agent I contacted added, “you can bring an attorney.” An attorney? Why would I need an attorney? “Oh, no reason, I’m just stating your rights…” Rights? What’s next, Miranda? I took the earliest available appointment, confident that those documents were easily obtained and this matter would be resolved. In fact, I mused, this might be an open door to share the Gospel with an IRS agent…who knows God’s purpose!
“We can fax them to you within an hour” the company claimed. I have no fax but thankfully, my sister in MA did and I was there to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner. An hour? I can spare an hour…just sit by the fax machine and all is well. After this I’ll review my returns and be all set….hour goes by, hour and half….”It’s on it’s way!” they insisted. I haven’t used fax in a long time but I do recall that the process is fairly instantaneous. After two hours and huffy conversation with a supervisor who claimed, “It’s been sent” I quit. Agh, I didn’t have two hours to waste!
I let steam rise within, even as my heart recalled Watchman Nee’s teaching on Satan’s ‘bestirring of the saints’…
“Stop crying, and you will come into victory. Do remember that Satan wants you to be stirred up…Satan does not seek for an explosion of your temper; he merely wants you to be agitated. And thus will he win….Victory is when you are not stirred up…Victory means you pay no attention…Your calmness, aloofness and carelessness are rightfully called a letting go….If you let go, God will take over.” (excerpt from The Life That Wins)
My sister commandeered the turkeys and all went well. Bob and I planned to leave MA on Saturday to avoid Sunday holiday traffic so we packed the trunk, Becky the cat and kissed my parents bye. “I wish you could stay longer…” my 89 year old mother said sadly as we hugged. Watching her wave from the door as we drove away weighed heavy on my heart.
I assuaged my sadness with the ‘traffic rationale’, yet after 20 miles cars started piling up. “Just a slow patch” I tried to believe while fighting the temptation to go back home to mom. Meanwhile, Feral Becky in the back began her wailing marathon, “WAH! WAH! WAH!”
Why was every car in the universe traveling my way? After 3 hours, agitation began to churn. My husband offered, “Want me to drive?” No. “Want to listen to some music?” No. “Want to hear a sermon message?” No.
After 5 hours I was stewing, nothing could interfere with this rising tide of angst within me….the IRS, my aging parents – unreconciled with God…my aching back…regrets and disappointments erupted – and why did the door close on that mission trip, my heart was so set to go…”WAH! WAH!”
As I succumbed to discouragement, guilt also churned as I know full well murmuring and complaining is an offensive to God. I could have cauterized it with an ‘about-face’ to the Lord but no…I chose to wallow as I drove until –
How can your tire blow out while doing 15 mph on the parkway? (Ok, there was a slight swerve, dip and bump) With no shoulder we hobbled through traffic to a grassy area. The ‘encouraging husband’ was now more than ‘bestirred’ himself! However for me, the blowout was a slap in the face from God, shutting down the spew of unfaithful brooding and bringing me into the peace from repentance.
In the cold wind we were a site for rubber-neckers as Bob threw luggage and stuff from the trunk to get to the ‘donut’. I prayed for Bob as he struggled in the cold wind. We agreed – only God enabled him to complete that task!
Through 2 more hours of traffic, Becky wailing, and my back was aching I was fine, my heart was reset, depending on the Lord, grateful for His discipline and believing Him to bring us home safe, ‘donut’ and all.
Of course I know Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining…shine like stars in the universe…” But I also know I Corinthians 10:10 as Paul admonished believers and referred to the Israelites, “And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.”
Unsurrendered heartache, discouragement, and disappointment are launching pads for total aggravation. But God in His faithfulness uses ‘total aggravation’ to reveal our weakness and immaturity as well as underlying issues so we may repent, grow and ‘reset’ to press forward. He is refining us, not only for eternity, but for here and now,
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Oh Lord, let me hear and know Your calling and rise up in faith to fulfill those ‘good works’ that You prepared in advance for me to do!