Take It Away
“Just take it away!” I heard a lady in a restaurant some time ago being very vocal with a waitress over something she had ordered that just did not match what she had in mind. Having seen and tasted the food on her plate, she had made it known “loudly” to her dining companion and to all of us in ear shot at the surrounding tables that her meal was awful. She could not stand to even smell it. When the waitress came back by to “make sure everything was okay”, she got an earful. The woman was not a quiet person and the more excited she got, the louder she got. Finally, she just burst out with the words, “Just take it away!”
You and I know what it is like to be confronted with something in life that is harsh, painful, can be confrontational and combative, and just not pleasant. When those issues arise, every day is a challenge and we long for resolution to the matter. The longer it takes to find a way to rectify the irritant, the more pain is inflicted by the situation. It is in those moments that we just wish God would take it all way. Sometimes, He does. Quite often, He does not.
When Paul was “afflicted” by a thorn in his flesh, although he begged God through three seasons of prayer to remove it, God did not. Rather, He left it there for Paul to remember to be humble. In the Old Testament, Jacob “limped” from being blessed by God to remind him that he had a new walk because of God’s work in his life. Sometimes, the issue that “irritates” us can be miniscule but we make it “larger than life” and refuse to let it go. The reason we cling to “that something” is because we do not want to forgive someone that hurt us, or to initiate reconciliation with a demanding person, or to take the “first step” toward relief out of fear that it will make us look weak. We will not release that issue because we don’t want to let it go. How sad!
A psychologist once was interviewing a patient. This patient was chronically depressed, hated life, blamed others for his own issues, and was obsessed with his own feelings of low self-worth. After some time of complaining about this and that, the patient finally drew a halting breath and allowed the psychologist to speak.
The psychologist grabbed a white, blank sheet of paper. He told his patient to look closely at this piece of paper. He instructed him to notice how white and large it was. The patient complied and after a bit the psychologist withdrew the paper and took out his pen and scribbled a small dot on the paper.
The psychologist then asked his patient to re-view the paper. He asked, “What do you see?” “I see a dot,” the patient retorted quickly. “What else do you see on the paper?” asked the psychologist. “Just the dot.” “Really?” The psychologist responded, “The paper is still large and white. It hasn’t changed, yet you only see the dot?” “Yes, because I don’t want it there,” the patient responded glumly. (Copied).
Humans are strange beings. We will “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel”. How many times And, sadly, how many people have we rejected in life because of one moment in time when they offended us? If we really “don’ want the ‘spot’ there” relationally, then we need to be ready to focus on the bigger picture and leave the blemishes alone.