I don’t want to go into too much depth on this commentary. I felt led to write a short story about the unfulfilling feeling you get when you don’t live your life God’s way. Let the Lord speak to you through the story below.
The Great Plains Poet
Searching For Change In The Bottom Or A Drawer
by Chris T.
I was looking for change in the bottom of a drawer; a catch-all for the unwanted things in my life.
My hands began snatching pennies, nickels and dimes while rummaging through papers, candy wrappers and old books.
Then, my hands felt a softened leather-bound book from a long time ago.
As I wrestled it from the tightly fitted drawer, I read the golden embossed letters
stamped on its front cover which read: “Holy Bible”. Catching my sight in the bottom right corner was a smaller golden font; for I discovered that this leather-bound treasure was mine.
The state of this book from long ago was weathered and quite dusty.
My fingers found the binding and I allowed the tips to glide up and down its back edge.
Pages began to turn furiously as I discovered highlights, notes and dog-eared corners.
Memories flashed through my mind back to a time when zeal and passion brought peace, joy and strength.
My eyes began to well up with warm tears and droplets started to fall down my cheeks; for I knew the meaning of finding this valuable book in such a forgotten drawer.
I had to face it… I was lost.
I caressed its covers, I flipped page after page; reading each note, every highlight, and all the things I jotted down which must have seemed important at the time. An hour went by, and I had come back to my original conclusion: I truly am lost.
How did I get this far off of course? Why did I abandon the love I had known so long ago? What event could have transpired for me to leave this precious book in such a state? Then, I suddenly remembered what did occur to get my life so off track: I had a mistress.
No, I had not chosen to succumb to the enticements of a woman. I realized that I had buckled to the most alluring and destructive of distractions; my will and my talent. I gripped the old bible hard with two hands as I brought to mind the events that waylaid my relationship with the Lord. After many years of God trying to reach me, with many attempts on His behalf to call me back, it came down to one principle: I would not lay down my life for Him. So many years went by as I made everything about myself and my talent; which, as I found out later was His talent that he loaned to me in the first place. Days began to pile up into months and then seasons turned over to years as I did it all in my own strength and might to manufacture my dream and in my own way.
Moving back towards the bedroom with a deliberate step, I carried the reclaimed bible and laid upon my bed. I wanted to rediscover the man I had long forgotten. Just before I sat slowly upon the comforter, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I didn’t like the reflection I had seen. Dark circles had formed under my eyes and there seemed to be deeply carved furrows on my brow which appeared to be from years of frustration due to the inability to make my dream happen my way; the only way I would accept.
I stared a little longer and had to look away; too saddening was the reflection which gazed back at me. Softly heaving a couple of sobs, I stared directly at the ceiling; as if waiting for something miraculous to occur. It didn’t. I rolled over on my belly and opened the aging book that had caused all this emotion in the first place. My ears filled up with the sound of turning pages as I scanned random chapter after chapter as verse began to follow verse.
A conversation from years past emerged to the front of my memory.
Wednesday night bible study was in full swing. People were sipping coffee and eating crumb cake while they discussed a simple question amongst the whole group. The leader had asked them: “What do you guys do when you discover that you are off the path God has given you?” I could see 93 year old Mrs. Staley take her weathered arthritic hands and brace them upon her walker to stand up. She didn’t speak up often; in fact I had never heard her voice before that night. It took a lot of patience and strength for her to get full upright, but when she did, the room fell silent as gentle snow falls on a cold winter’s night. In her warbled voice, while her palsy shook her bottom jaw she said: “I return to the gospels where I found the path in the first place.” Crumb cake and coffee stopped being consumed, and no further discussion was spoken on the subject because this old friend of God had spoken the only truth we needed to hear.
I snapped out of the day dream and found the Gospel of Matthew. My hands flipped the chapters by with a slow pace as I searched for the answer that Mrs. Staley suggested. Towards the middle of the book, an underlined passage jumped out in a wine colored hue. The simple passage read this: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39. Gentle sobs turned over to blubbering as a sobering truth slapped me right in the face; I had chosen to leave the protection of God because I refused to give myself wholly to his will for my life.
The heaviness of my heart became too much to bear as the lump in my throat hardened all the more. I glanced again at the mirror and saw a fear-filled, heart-laid-bare little boy who wouldn’t submit to the Father who had a better plan, a more peaceful, joy-filled plan for my life. So, through the tears, while I stared at the harried reflection, I fell upon my worn-out middle-aged knees and cried out to God. I spoke aloud this prayer: “Oh Lord, my God, I don’t know how I got this far away from you? I am embarrassed that I allowed this rift between us to last this long. This is all my fault because I listened to the temptations of the world and chose a much more selfish life. Now, I have lost all my joy and so much time has passed by with nothing to show for it. Please, please forgive me! I am so tired of living this life in this fruitless way. I want to lay down my life for you so I can enter into the rest that you have for those who follow you because they love you above all things. I am so confused right now but, I believe that in the next few days you will show me how to stay on the path that you had for me all along.”
The burden of sin lifted at once and I spent the rest of the day combing over that worn leather book that I had rediscovered. Days became easier as I rested in the knowledge that God’s direction for my life was being worked and not my own flawed wisdom. It took a few months, but I laid that talent at the Lord’s feet and never let it take over my life again. My moments became little gifts of joy, gifts of peace as Jesus and I navigated this complex world together. After all this time, I was surprised that I didn’t miss the old man I had left behind; all because I was searching for change at the bottom of a drawer.