Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Manner of Man? REALLY?!

Pacific Ocean at Schoolhouse Beach in Northern California
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: 
“Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, 
that You have brought me this far? 
And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; 
and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. 
Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?
2 Samuel 7:18-19 NKJV

It was the end of a long day. I had substitute taught ELA at my daughter's school and it was finally time to leave. If any of you know what a day in a middle school is like, you'll know that by the end of the six or more hours there, you are SPENT.

My daughter handed me her backpack... I take it, as I often can't believe her endurance and tenacity for the inconveniences of life that follow her as a child who is legally blind and has developmental delays. She keeps all her schoolwork AND her assistive technology devices in a plastic cart which she pulls behind her while also pushing her white cane in front of her. She's fully included in her middle school classes, which means making her way from class to class just as her other classmates do.

So, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for her by the end of the day and I'll do anything to help her get out of the building and home to a quiet place to decompress.

As we walked out of the office where I had returned my substitute teaching binder, I could feel a student literally breathing down my neck. My daughter was pressing the handicap button on the wall which would activate the brown metal door through which we leave every day after school. I knew this kid behind me was about to step on my heels if I stopped for the handicap door.

"Oh," I said, "I can tell you're in a hurry... allow me to let you pass."

I stepped to the side in order to avoid the annoying scrape of my ankles, not realizing how fast he was actually going.

As he pushed past me, he continued to push directly past my daughter who was already IN the doorway and making her way through to the school's foyer.

Yes... he had just pushed aside my daughter, WITH her white cane, WHILE she was walking through a doorway.

My astonishment quickly ignited into rage.

"DID YOU JUST PUSH PAST MY DAUGHTER?!?!"  I yelled.

He continued to make his way out the next set of doors.

"HEY!" I yelled louder. "You need to turn around and apologize!"

This caught his attention and he turned around with an expression of "Oh, puh-lease" on his face, but none-the-less said with disdain, "Sooorrrry!"

Of course, my brain starts going a million miles a minute as I begin to tally up the times people have been rude, ignorant or flat out NEGLIGENT of following the law regarding white canes and blindness.

I held in the tears that burned and pressed on my eyes as I drove my daughter home from school, and I swallowed the lump in the throat over and over again as we ate our after school snack. But I broke down in tears the minute she dismissed herself and went upstairs for her ALONE time.

How RUDE, how RUDE, how RUDE!!!

But then the words from a message I'd heard just a few days before at the GrowU conference rang in my ears.

Is this the manner of man?

One might thing I was asking myself that question regarding the way the STUDENT had behaved. But, as a result of the message I'd heard, I knew God was actually sending me those words to remind me what the manner of man IS.

If you read carefully the words of King David (see above), he's praising God for everything he has been given...everything that HE [David] knows HE [David] DOESN'T deserve.

As a result of God's grace and God's mercy, King David finds that he is unworthy of all that God has given him, and God refuses to let David do SOMETHING in return to thank him! Even when David wants to build a temple for God, God says:

"Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle..." 2 Samuel 7:5-6 NKJV

Basically, God is saying, "No... I do for you... I don't need anyone to do for ME... I AM GOD!"  

David is shocked and overwhelmed and says, "Is this the law for man... you do everything for us and we can't do anything back for you to show you our thanks?"

Yes, this is the manner of man. God gives us grace and only wants us to push that grace back out onto others. We DO for His other precious children, and that is all the thanks He needs. He gives US grace, and we give it to others.

So, for everything God has given me, what more can I do that to show grace and shower others with mercy the way He has showered me with mercy.  

Yes, this is the manner of man.

I must show grace.

Pray:  Heavenly Father, it is so hard to show grace to those who do not treat us with kindness.  It is so hard to give mercy to those who do not care about us.  But, this IS the manner of man...You give grace to us so that we give it to others.  

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