13 February, 2006

When God Annoys You (part 2)

I failed to mention in the first post on this subject that I recently picked up a little book titled "99 Annoying Attributes of God" and this has what has set me off on this race down memory lane about how God has rubbed me the wrong way over the years.
I was reading something in it this morning that really got me to thinking. It said, "God is annoying because he isn't particularly interested in making me look good."
O Lord, can I ever relate to that statement!

Twenty-five years ago when I first started out in the ministry, I had this preconceived notion that now that I was a "mouth-piece" for God, that people were going to have this tremendous respect for me... almost a reverence. I thought that being the preacher, the evangelist, people would hang on my every word and it would be like those E.F. Hutton commercials of a few years ago. In my egotistical mind, I thought, "God is going to elevate me before men."
Man, was I in for a rude awakening!
I had not really grasped a Biblical view of this role just yet... and it has been a rather humbling and often painful journey in finding my place in the scheme of things the way God's plan works.

When I was young and starting out in the ministry, and just out of prison, you cannot imagine the invitations that came my way to come preach at churches across the state of Illinois, and even into Missouri and Kentucky. I thought, "Look out world, Darrell Garrett has arrived!"
It did not take too long for me to figure out that the vast majority of these pastors did not want me to come preach... they wanted me to come and give my testimony, or as I call it, "tell my war stories." When word got out that I would not give my testimony, but rather wanted to preach... all the invitations stopped and 90% of the churches I was scheduled to speak at cancelled me. Talk about deflating your ego quick! I went from the latest hottest commodity in the Church of God to yesterday's newspaper in about four weeks time. Nobody wanted to hear this young upstart preacher stumble through a message... they wanted to hear about prison and drugs and violence and suicide attempts. That was exciting and drew crowds. I refused, not because I was too proud to tell of where I had been, but because I am not a fan of these type testimonies where for 35 minutes someone tells of all the horrors of their life of sin, and then wraps it up with two minutes of "then Jesus saved me and look at me now."

That was just the beginning of my education where I learned that God is not about elevating the man. Over the years I have found God using me in ways that were absolutely humiliating, but in the process, he (Christ) received glory.
I gradually learned what John meant when he said, "I must decrease that he might increase." I'm still learning that while it is never God's intent to harm me or my reputation, there are times that I am made to look like a fool for his names sake.
I love how Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 4:9, especially when read from The Message. It reads:
"It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We're something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street."

I amazed at how God does things. There are times that in order for his will and his message to be accomplished, my pride is busted into a thousand pieces. Then, all of a sudden, God will build me up and make me look like top dog in front of people. It has taken me a long time to get it through my thick skull... It is not about me!
It is all about him and his will and his purpose and for his glory.

It's funny, for the past 25 years I have been learning this and in some ways I have come to accept it, but still... there are times that God's way of doing things just irritates the daylights out of me.

1 comment:

Sean McKee said...

God has a way of making sure his plans come to pass. It’s that sovereignty thingy.

I sure am glad He knows the end from the beginning...