Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble

August 22, 2021

There’s a hard-headed, stubborn human in this picture. Care to guess which one?

Truthfully, it’s both of us.

But Joe was worse. 😂

For example…several years ago, Joe had a little health scare. He endured several rounds of testing before it was determined that he simply needed to have his gallbladder removed. No biggie.

His only post surgical instructions were to rest/avoid heavy lifting for the next few days and then return in 10 days to have his staples removed.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

Bless his heart, the man could not sit still, despite the fact that he had an excellent nurse by his side. 😜 He alluded to the fact that he went back to work early because he felt that the public education system might falter without me in my classroom, but y’all know how Joe is, so…

On about day seven, Joe’s abdomen began to aggravate him. I told him not to mess with those staples himself…I knew good and well what he was thinking!! Rather than call his doctor, Joe took matters into his own hands. Literally. He took a deep breath and a set of wire snips and went to work removing staples. Oh, yes he did.

And in about five days, he had a festering wound, and both a wife and a doctor shaking their heads in disbelief at this hard headed man.

Joe was humbled by one tiny staple that caused BIG problems. And I TRIED to tell him…but he never did listen to me much. 😜

This week, Joe’s lesson is about being humble and being humbled.

He wrote:

Humility

Every Christian has a choice between being humble and being humbled.

Who in here this morning likes to be told what to do? This notion starts with most of us about the time we turn two years old.  It is in our nature to want to make our own decisions and to have things our own way.  It is not in our nature to want to stop and ask for permission or guidance.

But as we get a little older and maybe a little wiser, we may start to admit that we do, in fact, need a little direction.

We all have to grow up.  We have to stop stomping our feet and demanding that things be our way. We need to start bending our knees and saying, “Your way, Lord.”

There is a word for assuming this new posture in life.  It is called humbleness.  Nothing pleases our Heavenly Father more than a humble heart.  He delights in our humbleness as much as He opposes our pride.  

Psalm 25:9 states: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

God wants us to know His will, and He wants us to make decisions according to His teachings.  But, He will not force us to come to Him for guidance. If we want to do things our way, most of the time He will let us.  He will stand back and let us learn the hard way.  God is so wise that He will allow our circumstances to humble us if we will not humble ourselves. 

CS Lewis said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as you are looking down you can’t see all that is above you.” 

So, let us humble ourselves before God and admit that we need His guidance, rather than doing it our way and failing.  We will be better off with the Lord guiding our steps, rather than asking Him to correct our mistakes.   

-JMP

If you all will bear with me a moment, I’ll be over here nursing my sore toes. Joe and Jesus just stepped on them.

“I’ve got this. Let me handle it.”

I’ve said it to Joe. I’ve said it to Jesus. I’ve said it to pretty much anyone who has ever tried to help me. You’d think I’d learn my lesson eventually., but I said it someone close to me just this week. And the real irony is that I said it AFTER an especially humbling experience. I’ll explain…

But, first, let me make a pretty raw admission.

The months after Joe went to Heaven were pretty dark for me. That is no big secret. I made a vow to live my days in a way that honored Joe and Jesus, and I honestly believed I was doing just that. However, there was another part of me that was so ready to be with Joe again. It wasn’t that I wanted to die right then, and certainly not that I wanted to end my life, but I just didn’t want to do anything that might prolong the days between the present and when I would see my sweet Joe once more.

That was MY way. That was not GOD’S way.

We all have to grow up.  We have to stop stomping our feet and demanding that things be our way. We need to start bending our knees and saying, “Your way, Lord.”

Time is a great healer; therefore, my days are not as dark as they were right after Joe went to Heaven. I haven’t really had those “dark day” thoughts in a while. Still, it didn’t change the force in which the irony hit me when, a few weeks ago, my doctor found a suspicious lump. I went straight to the building next door to have an ultrasound, where I did not get the answer for which I had hoped. It was not one spot, but two. A biopsy was scheduled.

And suddenly, I wanted to take back those thoughts I had in December and January. Suddenly, I wanted to live.

God wants us to know His will, and He wants us to make decisions according to His teachings.  But, He will not force us to come to Him for guidance. If we want to do things our way, most of the time He will let us.  He will stand back and let us learn the hard way.  God is so wise that He will allow our circumstances to humble us if we will not humble ourselves. 

I felt pretty humbled when Joe passed away. I spent (and still spend) so much time with the Lord, asking for His guidance. But I also know that I never brought to Him these feelings I had about not wanting to prolong my life. I held onto them stubbornly, like a child hides a toe with a splinter wedged in it, despite the pain it causes.

So, God didn’t hold me down and yank out the splinter. He let it fester (maybe like a staple?). He stood back, because He knew one day I’d begin to see the light again. He also knew that would be about the same time I’d have the biopsy. God is so very wise. And I am so very stubborn.

We will be better off with the Lord guiding our steps, rather than asking Him to correct our mistakes.   

I had many conversations with Jesus during the two weeks between the ultrasound and the biopsy. I didn’t beg for a second chance. But I did beg for forgiveness. I asked forgiveness for thinking that my ways were better than His…for thinking that I knew, better than God knows, how many days I should spend between this life and the next….for not allowing Him to hold all the pieces of my broken heart, especially the ones that kept cutting my hands over and over because I held them so tightly.

I stayed on my knees–where I should have stayed to begin with.

And in return, Jesus gave to me a peace. I cannot explain it any other way. It was not a peace that made me feel like the biopsy results would show nothing. Rather, it was a peace that made me know that everything would be ok regardless of the outcome.

Sweet friend, I know you think you’ve got this (whatever “this” may be), but let me tell you that you do not. You never did. And isn’t that relieving that you don’t have to carry that weight on your shoulders? Whatever it is that you are holding so tightly in your grip is probably cutting you all to pieces. My hands are a scarred up mess, but yours don’t have to be. It is so much easier to be humble and ask the Lord for guidance than to be humbled and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Trust me. I learned the hard way.

I was sitting in the Food Lion parking lot waiting for my online grocery order (you are not living your best life if you are not taking advantage of grocery pick up, by the way), when I received my biopsy results. The prettiest word I’ve heard in a while: BENIGN. 🙌

And then I heard something else. It was a gentle whisper in my ear, but the voice was unmistakable. Sweet and strong, He said, “Now go LIVE.”

And that is what I am going to do, my friend. I am going to live. And I’m going to lean, humbly holding the Hand of the One who guides me every step. But, y’all, I do have a favor to ask. If you EVER see me nursing a wound while holding a pair of wire snips, I want you to slap them right out of my hand.

-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe

4 thoughts on “Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble

  1. What a great lesson – I love the picture of us holding onto our sharp edges with such force that our hands are cut and bloodied, but still stubbornly refusing to give them over to Jesus for his sanding and smoothing. I’m glad your results were good. I recently had a similar series of events. ‘Benign’ is a wonderful word!

    Liked by 1 person

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