Once upon a time I was traveling with my college volleyball team. It was late when we trudged over to the rental counter to pick up the 15-passenger vans I’d reserved four months prior.
“Vans? What vans?” the infuriating man said one too many times as I held out a fully paid rental contract for two vans. “Look. I can’t help you lady. I don’t know what you’re even talking about” he said condescendingly; dismissively; unprofessionally. “All I know is that I don’t have any vans for you. Move along.” And then I called him a jackass.
Who are YOU when life says: “I know you were expecting your important thing to happen in this particular way, but sorry sister, it’s not going down like that today?”
If you become icy, pushy, sullen, or spectacularly rude when your well-laid plans are thwarted – or when you are launched into stressful or hostile territory – it can be a difficult challenge to remember who you really are.
You are a person in whom Christ dwells.
This means that Christ goes with us throughout his entire kingdom.
He is with us, for example, as we wander the darkest, remotest ends of a Tallahassee rental car garage at two-thirty in the morning. He goes with us as we stalk the economy car aisle still in a murderous rage. He is with us as we lead our weary people through a parking lot wilderness, knowing they have a game the next day – a very important game – a game that could make or break an entire season, maybe even a coach’s entire career? Yes, Christ goes with us even there.
As Christians, we don’t get to choose the times we’d like Christ to dwell with us or when we will best represent him to others. Because God has determined to dwell in his people, even when – in our intense frustration – we forget he’s there. Christ is with us when the wheels come off. He is with me even as I consider hurling myself across a rental car counter to commit a justifiable homicide.
So who are you when the day begins to unravel, sour, or spin out of control? Who are you when your important things are not handled with the appropriate care or consideration by others? Who are you when under overwhelming or unexpected stress?
I am a person in whom Christ dwells. Not because I am very good (clearly) but because he is.
When my important thing goes completely off the rails, or when I act like a princess, martyr, or a royal jerk (or, tada! wow! all three!), I’ve forgotten an essential Christian truth: I live in the kingdom of a God who loves me (and also rental car man), is caring for me (and also rental car man), and who dwells within me (and – God willing – in rental car man).
We are the people in whom Christ dwells.
Sadly, I acted no more ‘like a Christian’ that night in Tallahassee than the insufferable rental car man did. We both behaved badly, but I promise you, I was far worse. In fact, if there had been a competition to see who could behave LESS like a person in whom Christ dwells, I would have won a gold medal. Could it be that both of us, in the consuming dark of our frustration, had temporarily forgotten who we were?
We are a people in whom Christ – light of the world – dwells.
It’s no stunning achievement to be considerate of others when we’re rested and ready – when others realize how important our thing is to us and act accordingly. But it’s almost impossible to remain peaceable when we’re wrung out; under the gun; in need of support and understanding for our very important thing, and the people around us are grossly inept, patronizing, or even worse, don’t seem to care. It’s then – at our most intense frustration – that we need to remember who we really are!
Who are you, then, when life says: “I know you were expecting your important thing to happen in this particular way, but sorry sister, it’s not going down like that today?”
You are still a person in whom Christ – light of the world – dwells. Not because you are always good, but because he alway is.
The peace of Christ remain with you always,