Coffee Stains: Waiting for SpitAuthor: David Porter
A friend told me the story of a problem he and his wife had with their son when the little fellow was around four or five years old.
He began to spit on people and it seemed the parents best efforts to make him stop were to no avail. One day his dad came into the house and saw the little fellow sitting in the corner, ‘serving time.’ Though he knew why he was there, like all good dads, my friend couldn’t resist teasing, ‘What are you doing in the corner?’ The little prisoner didn’t miss a beat, ‘I’m waiting for more spit!’ You can’t help but admire him, unbowed before the injustices of adult oppression. But to me the story is funny because it illustrates a strain in human character– something in our psyche is unbowed. When someone tells us to do something, a little fellow deep within us stands up and says, ‘No! I’ll do what I want to do, not what you tell me to do.’
Egyptian pharaohs are famous for constructing pyramids, but that’s not all they did. One of them at least passed a good bit of his time trying to do just the opposite of what the Eternal God told him to do (‘Let my people go!’) So God’s judgment fell on him and his people. This hard head would change just long enough so that God would lift his hand, then he went back to doing what he wanted. That attitude wrecked his country and cost him his eldest son. We last see old Pharaoh on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea, surveying the wreckage of his army, or at least that part of his army and equipment that would float. Israel danced off into the desert and freedom from the king’s slavery. Not even Pharoah is smarter or stronger than God.
The Bible talks about a stubborn, rebellious world of people in the book of Revelation. God gives us a glimpse of a time when He begins to pour out his wrath on people that refuse to obey him. Not only have they turned their back on his love and grace, but they’ve embraced the representative of the devil himself, the Antichrist. They reap what they sow, because every sin and every rebellion contains seeds. When we eat the fruit, the seed is planted and we reap it. So we see the world shaking under plagues, earthquakes, wars, famines, economic distresses … you name it. You’d think they would repent of their sin and turn towards God for forgiveness, but no, they’re just waiting for more spit! ‘The fifth Angel poured his bowl on the throne of the Beast: Its kingdom fell into sudden eclipse. Mad with pain, men and women bit and chewed their tongues, cursed the God-of-Heaven for their torment and sores, and refused to repent and change their ways.’ (Rev. 16: 10-11, The Message).
As I thought about this, I asked myself the question, ‘What does that have to do with you and me?’ After all, we’re on the side that loves the Lord, those who have submitted to His Lordship. But don’t I have my rebellious moments at times? ‘Lord, you’re asking too much. Not that!’ Or, ‘No Lord, there’s nothing wrong with that. This is not you speaking to me, but my inner mother.’ Or simply, ‘I’m a big boy. I can do what I want. I’m tired of this.’ Something in me wants to be Captain of the ship, and if the Lord asks me to play a role that I don’t like, that little fellow in me stands up and complains.
It’s just the opposite of the Cross. Jesus struggled with the horror of the Cross the night before his death for our sins. He foresaw the humiliation, the agony, and the horror and he naturally recoiled. But with tremendous courage He looked toward his Father and surrendered.
‘Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, ”˜Stay here while I go over there and pray.’ Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, ”˜This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.’ ”˜’Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, ”˜My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?’ … Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.’ … When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.” (Matt. 26:36-39, 42, 44, The Message)
Are you struggling in your Gethsemane today? Maybe you’re not rebelling but you’re afraid, or you just don’t want to do what the Lord is asking. One prayer unleashes the power of the Cross in your life: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ You’ve got to abandon yourself to Him in faith to be able to pray it and yes, self doesn’t want to lose control. But in life, weakness prevails until we lose control and turn it over to Him. Thy will be done.
‘Well kids, it all comes down to TRUST, doesn’t it? Let’s continue to trust Him together.’ Marilyn Mathias in her blog near the end of a fight with Lou Gehrig’s disease which eventually took her life.