The Day from Hell

by Andy Wood on April 24, 2010

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom, Turning Points

“I swear, I keep thinking, if somehow I press through, I can get where I want to go.  If, of course, it doesn’t kill me or I don’t kill myself in the process.”  (from my journal, July 18, 2005)

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“This is warfare,” Robin said.

“It’s God!” I snapped back, dispirited and resigned.  “Let’s just go home.”

Well, there you have it.  Now you know what we fight about at my house. 

It was the day from hell.  It started with a hard funeral – a suicide victim – at which I was to speak.  My message to the grieving family and friends was to “be still – cease striving – and know that he is God.”  It was on a Monday, following a very harried and stressful Sunday, in the middle of a very harried and stressful summer.  

But this was the Monday when the scenery was supposed to change.  With the help of my office staff, we had scheduled a trip to the mountains to write.

As in, the LifeVesting book.

Here’s a little proverbial advice, for what it’s worth:  Beware of trying to change your scenery on Monday. 

Anyway, it would be a working trip, complete with mountain grandeur, a respite from the usual busy schedule, and a feeling of accomplishment on the other side.  But  first, on this particular morning, I had to prepare to say something to a family needing some measure of help and hope.  I also had to attend to a few other necessary, but distracting things.  I felt like I was trying to push a huge emotional rock up a mountain, and had to stop and give interviews and make a hundred little decisions along the way.

Somewhere after the fact, I heard the Lord saying, “Why didn’t you ask Me for help”?

We finally hit the road about 1:30, still trying to unwind from a very stressful two days.  We’d been gone about 45 minutes when I was nailed by a small town speed trap.  Carelessly, virtually alone on a five-lane road leaving town, I had screeched through Mayberry at a blistering 50 mph in a 35 zone.  The only other vehicle in sight was a West Texas version of Barney Fife. 

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

I thought I’d be able to make up for some lost time if I did some laptop work in the car and let Robin drive.  So I did that until my battery was used up.  Not far from our destination, I resumed command of the Galactica.

And got another ticket. 

“I quit!  I quit!  I’m obviously doing 70 in a 55 world!  And evidently I’m the worst driver in the history of driving.  A complete failure as a human being.” 

There was more, but you get the point.

We (very slowly) reached the hotel, and once in the room, I plugged in my computer cord to recharge the battery.  The cord somehow failed.  I called, and the manufacturer said they couldn’t get me a new one until Wednesday morning.  I had come here to write, and I was dead in the water. 

Past the “I give up” episode, I heard the Lord saying, “I’m just trying to get you to slow down.  The tickets were just a metaphor for a larger issue.  You can’t write if you can’t listen.  And right now, you’re not listening.  And since when do you have to have a computer to meet Me, to hear from Me”?

Regaining what little sense and sensitivity I had left, I realized that God’s assignment was somewhat different from my mission.  His idea was rest, then work.  I’d seen that pattern before. 

Truth is, I was trying to write from a heart that was fried.  I needed some “Be still” time.  I needed to hear my own sermon to the grieving family.  I told God I was tired of pushing that rock up the hill.  He could either push it, or let it run over me.        

The next day I was on the patio of our hotel room, admiring the stunning scenery and suffering the indignity of having to use a pen and a legal pad.  Here’s what I read in my Bible:

“A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again. Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days” (Proverbs 19:19-20, NASU).           

Yep, I was right.  It was God.  Warfare, too, I’m sure.  Either way, I needed a meltdown to get into a place where I could actually “listen to counsel and accept discipline.”  A “man of great anger” (I’m sure that can’t mean me!) refuses to do that.  When discipline comes, my responsibility is to reel in the anger and accept the forced direction that the Lord is taking me in.

In that situation, the discipline of the Lord was to slow down (literally) and unplug (literally).  By having to hand-write a book outline, and forcing my spirit to be still, I moved from frustration to anger to depression to surrender… back to quietness again. 

And there I began to hear the Lord speak. 

It doesn’t take a Day from Hell to hear the counsel of God.  But you may need to slow down a bit.

Oh… and keep a pen and a legal pad handy.  Just in case.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eric Chaffin April 24, 2010 at 7:18 am

Oh, yeah. I can relate. Or, to quote a particularly bad episode of the old Star Trek, “We reach.”

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