I was finishing up at my gym locker and an older man was getting started. He looked up at me and said, “Henceforth, don’t use locker 74, that’s my locker.” “No, sir, 74 is mine! I was here first!” could have come out of my mouth … it was certainly in my head. But I thought, “Why not be kind? … after all, locker 76 is 14 inches away” so I responded, with a hint of irritation, “Okaaay”.
God was opening a door.
The older man, likely sensing that I was perturbed, said, “Heading into work today?” “Yessir.” “What do you do?” “I pastor a church here in Raleigh.” “Oh. What got you into that?” Within seconds, the Spirit had me saying to him, “When I was 10 years old I heard a devotion from a college student about the crucifixion. That Jesus died to save me from the penalty of my sins. God moved me to believe that day in His mercy through Jesus…” The older gentleman interrupted me and said, “There’s not a lot of mercy going around … people are being killed everyday.”
True that people are getting killed everyday but he missed, greatly missed, the mercy of God going around everyday in what I had just shared. I deserve death by a holy God whom I’ve sinned against but in His mercy He provided Jesus.
God also provides mercy through the innumerable hardships of this world. He hasn’t promised perfection here … that occurs later, in heaven, through Jesus. But God has promised His merciful presence while we are here … to get through the horrors.
This man is a Vietnam Vet. I’ve seen his hat. I’ve seen him walking into the gym sweetly holding the hand of his wife. I can see that he is war-torn and that he’s still a fighter. He has seen innumerable horrors. I am so grateful for his service to our country.
In his mind, God hasn’t performed well enough for him. Pray with me that he will look to Jesus’ performance for him and change his mind.
From now on, I’ll be using 76.