Our ministry used to have a television show. It was on a local channel, and even with the ratings system, it was always difficult to tell how many people actually tuned it. I was constantly startled when people would recognize me in a public setting and reference the show.
One day I was at the grocery store, and a stranger approached me, shared his theological distaste for women pastors…and spit on me. Don’t miss the point – this man was a Christian; he knew I was a Christian; he still chose to spit on me.
I don’t believe that I will ever be able to understand his reasoning or his justification for taking such an aggressive stance against me. I have tried to talk myself into the belief that this wasn’t personal. He wasn’t spitting on someone he knew. He didn’t know that I not only preach, but I also drive carpools. I doubt it occurred to him that I am not “just” a woman, I am also someone’s precious daughter, wife and mother. But it was personal to me. I felt violated. And misunderstood. And judged.
What do we make of such things?
Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
that you don’t already know completely.
Although that gentleman (scratch that – man, he was no gentleman) cannot see me, God does. Experts in the psalms taught me that these verbs are very “active”, as in – God is curiously, actively, attentively studying me – like a father studies his child.
I wonder. Have you ever been spit on? Assaulted? Abused? Treated as if you don’t count by someone? Do you ever ruminate over past slights, offenses, or hurts? Of course we all do at some point! But what if…for today, we took a few minutes to remember that holy God sees us (in a good way). He isn’t making a list to determine our holiness rating – he is watching us with tenderness.
Given the judgment of one mere mortal versus the care and concern of holy God – I would choose some old guy spitting on me any day of the week, so long as I retain the knowledge that God is with me.
How about you? Do you maybe need some “re-orientation” of priorities? Have you focused on the opinions of mere mortals over conscious contact with a God who loves you?