The other day, I fell. Not in a mental sort of way, I literally slipped, skidded and fell face forward in the middle of a thankfully not so busy road. My hands involuntarily reached for the ground to save my body from landing first and I got hurt pretty badly. I lay on the ground for about a minute, and then I felt the stinging pain of raw flesh as I realized that both my knees, and my hands had been grazed. I was mentally cursing as I began to slowly get up, overwhelmed by the feel of the granite-and-tar mixture again my peeled skin. I couldn't even be bothered to look around at who had seen me. I stood up, put my scratched cell phone in my pocket and felt a silent, trembling anger settle over me. I thought to myself, God, You control everything. Why would You let this happen?
I had been running. Quite fast, because I had wanted to get to the library before it closed to print out the last page of an application. As I began to walk, teeth clenched, hands sore and body shaking, I thought about laughing at myself to make me feel better, but I wasn't ready to feel better yet so I just kept walking, upset, to the library. As I asked the librarian where the printer was, I realized that she was staring at my now bleeding hand. Immediately irritated I continued to pose my question in a terse, snappy tone, and walked away as she replied. People are ridiculous, I thought, you see a hurt person and instead of offering help, a tissue, some water, a bathroom, anything, you just stare and make them feel uncomfortable. I fumed as I tried to put my printout away without getting any blood on it.
Walking back home in the bitter cold, I was waiting for an epiphany. Some kind of clarity, a sensible, moral ending as to why this happened to me. I felt so victimized! I was very careful as I walked through traffic. I might get hit by a car and die on the way home since God clearly doesn't care, I thought out loud. I didn't actually believe it, I only thought it because I knew that God would know I was thinking it, and then maybe feel bad. Close to home, I started to feel the guilt that I knew was coming. After all of God's faithfulness, after every time you've been saved from something bad, after every bit of undeserved grace and mercy you've been granted, this is how you question everything you know about Him over a scab? It's not a SCAB! I protested. I'm injured! It hurts! There's blood!
Later that evening, when I was bandaged and ready to go to sleep, I decided to give God one more chance to make it up to me, but I still got no explanation. I had calmed down significantly. I knew I was wrong for being such a grouch after the "accident". I knew I was completely out of control and probably a little crazy for overreacting like I did. "Sorry Lord..." I mumbled. Then I got my epiphany. Not about why this had happened, or why God didn't prevent it, but about my response, and what it said about me. Not the epiphany I had expected or wanted at all.
I was hung up over getting hurt, getting a scar. I was upset because my body was put through pain. I was so offended, when my temporary home was bruised a little bit. A question floated around in the air and then settled on my heart : "Are you this upset when your spirit gets bruised? When you watch something, read something, do or say something that offends your spirit, do you tremble with anger? Do you even notice?" How could I answer?
That day, I couldn't wait to get home, to completely de-germify my bruised skin and cover it up with bandages so it wouldn't get infected. I was careful when I walked, and touched anything, making sure the wound was not bothered in any way. But my spirit is allowed to undergo all kinds of things. And cleaning out the debris, protecting my spirit from contamination and infection is often the last thing on my mind. My attitude (when I actually notice that my spirit is suffering) is often - let's find something to take my mind off it so I don't have to feel so bad or - better luck next time. Whenever I have one too many chocolates I stop myself and go on a self-deprivation sacrifice just in case, God forbid, I become chunky. I want to be sure I look good, but it has never crossed my mind whether or not God finds my spirit attractive to look at. We give attention to what we care for, and upon evaluation, it appears that the eternal spirit gets no love at all when compared to the temporary flesh. So I realized that I need to get my priorities right. That I needed grace and I needed mercy. Good thing God doesn't hold grudges.