It was 7:45 a.m., and everyone in Kalispell was trying to get to their posts for the day. I came to the stop sign at the south end of Helena Flats road and waited for someone to close the gate, so that I could take a right onto the highway.
(I was a teenager when I finally figured out that when Dad said, “Who opened the gate?” there actually was no gate. He just meant there was a lot of traffic.)
Anyway, I was waiting patiently to turn.
The person behind me –not so much. He laid on the horn. When I didn’t immediately turn, he honked and honked again.
Oh was I mad.
Pulse thumping. Blood boiling. Teeth clenching mad.
Finally I was able to make my turn, just about the time the Holy Spirit said, “So.” (Firm voice. Dad voice.)
In the same hour in which I took to the wheel of my car, I had been rolling the words of Peter around in my head:
…not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for this very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NASB)
“Give a blessing instead,” the Spirit said.
Instead of Are you kidding me!? Jerk. Instead of that.
I blew out the hot air that had been rapidly building and said, “Blessing?”
“Blessing,” he said. “You heard me.”
And so I began blessing Mr. Honking Driver. At first it was forced, but then I started to think about the soul of the man behind the wheel.
Did he know Jesus?
I prayed for him. All of my anger symptoms dissipated, and compassion filled me. Maybe he was having a horrible morning. Maybe his soul was dark and bankrupt of all that is good. I prayed for his family and his heart and his work day.
And I felt close to God. This was a kind of worship that was more than what I had been doing over coffee and a relaxed Bible reading not too many minutes earlier in my morning.
So the message I’m sending to you today isn’t about blessing those who do evil to you, as valuable as that is. What I want you to know is that until you read the words of the Bible and go do them in real life, you’ll never know the kind of intimate relationship with God that you long to have. It’s in that moment of hard obedience, when you bend your knees to doing what is right, that you will experience a deepening in relationship with the Father. You’ll feel his pleasure and the benefit of obedience to your own wellbeing, and you’ll want more of that.
What truth of God do you need to obey today?