Rain Cloud or God’s Shadow

Have you ever stood at the bathroom sink, looked into the mirror and stared at the person looking back at you? Who is that? What happened? Why you and why now?

There is so much greatness that occurs in my life day-to-day. In fact, a big reason for that is the change in my perspective of others. In my life personally, I am struggling. I question myself daily. Who am I? What is wrong with me? Why won’t someone hire me? Why do I get upset at the stupidest things? Is God showing me something or just flat-out punishing me? Months ago, had I chosen to continue focusing on these self-inflicted knife wounds, I would miss out on daily kisses, handshake opportunities, and joining others in their victories.

Lately, I have found a cure to my own demise. I smile when others smile. I laugh when others laugh. I hurt when others cry. I get what it means to do life together. Being alone is one thing. Being lonely…that bothers me, for myself and for others.

Today, I was sitting in the car, watching the flashing red lights at a railroad crossing. It was at this moment that God began to talk to me. He showed me more of who He is. While watching the different train cars, with their big block letters and their fancy graffiti, fly by, God explained that He was my flashing red lights and crossing bars. “The train is coming,  Donny.” See, those lights and bars spring into action, often times, before you ever see the train. And there are several types of people who approach the railroad crossing.

First, there’s the person that has such a busy schedule, is in such a hurry, that they squeeze around the bars, HOPING to get to the other side without making the next World’s Dumbest Drivers episode because they were blasted by the oncoming train. Can this person see or hear? Are they willing to heed the warnings put before them? Such a move places their needs and wants ahead of God’s plan and purpose. How many times does a friend talk to us about the direction we’re headed? How many signs and signals need to be places in our way before we allow God to course correct? I am guilty of such actions. I have spent so much of my life here. “Let me just get to where I want to be. Move!” With this approach, there are two severely affected. First, myself. If I am lucky enough to survive such an idiotic move, think that encourages or discourages me to try it again? Now I am empowered. Now I am invincible. The higher the number of tries, the higher the probability of being t-boned. The other person affected is the one that is on edge. The other “driver” watching my actions. “Hey, he made it; so can I.” How self-absorbed do you have to be to not recognize that your actions are not your own?

What about the second person? The one who sits in the car, obeys the traffic law and stays put, but is angry about it. They beat the steering will, they yell at the train, and the rest of their day is apparently ruined by the simplicity of a passing train. It has been a long time since this person has truly taken a breath. Everything is either now or not worth it. Always in a hurry. Running over that one person that needed to hear an encouraging word. They don’t know life away from the edge. They are in a room of people who love them and all they want to do is leave. People annoy this person and being alone scares them. Church is too convicting. Friends are too happy. Life is about the chase…then what?

And the definition of God’s mercy is allowing person one and two to become person three. The one that sits long enough to shut-up and get clued into a piece of God’s working. I am careful to say I know God’s plan. I am not sure where God is leading and how He’s gonna use this junk that has uninvitingly piled up. I am scared to ask how many times He has tried to get my attention if He has used all of this to get me to this point today. But God, here I am.  I am sorry for not being available. Not sure I can take any more, but use me for the sole purpose for even being out here. May I never return to running through the warning signs. May I not yell at you when you slow me down. And may I take the time to breathe when you put the oxygen mask over my face.

Liz continues to hurt. She hurts when she is smiling. She cries, even if the tears are flowing backwards. Some would question God’s love for Liz because He has allowed such intense agony for so long. But instead of participating in the Creator-bashing, Liz worships. She sings, she serves, she loves, and she continues to fight. Liz is the railroad crossing driver that sits and turns the radio up.

No job, medical bills that could fill a good-sized kiddie pool, needs unmet and a sense of being judged for this chapter. Pride, self-loathing, fear, and the not-knowing are incredible paralyzers. Being preached at, scolded, pushed aside, and being shamed are unbearable outcomes for an already fragile husband and dad. There are days where my vision is blurred. Is that a rain cloud getting ready to unleash its fury or is it God’s shadow in my life, ready to scoop me up for a long-overdue hug? Only one way to find out…

My life is full, but it’s not just full of problems. And maybe all of this is just for me. But I do wonder how many others are out there that have a room in their life where they keep that other driver locked up. I thank God for my train this morning.

As I saw the last train car come from behind the trees, there was a word written in green bubble graffiti letters, outlined in white. The word just now caused me to stop typing and consider its meaning as it relates to what God was talking to me about. I believe this is not the end of this conversation with Him. It may be a word of I have to consider daily. Anyways, as the end of the train rolled through the crossing, right in front of me, was the word “Helm.”

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