I go to get the mower out, after it has been stored all winter. (or summer, whatever you want to call it–that period from about October till March..) The grass has shot up over the last two weeks, and with my schedule I have not found the time to mow it yet. Today was the day I had already planned to do this. And then, I realize that the gas tank has less than a quarter of a tank of gas. Well, at least my yard is fairly small. Maybe…just maybe… Because when else am I going to get the chance to do this? The rest of my week is already crazy…
I pray before I start it up, and finally on about the 5th try, it starts–and stays running!! I pray, “Jesus just let me get these high areas, please.” I know He can help me get this yard mowed before it gets completely out of hand! I know that even if it is just running on fumes, Jesus can do it! He is able!
I get one patch that is really super high, and then I go start on the next patch, at which point the mower decides to die as it gets in the thick of it. I back it out, pull the chain and it starts—and I go for it again. Again, I get just a little ways into it, and it dies on me again. I’m praying “Jesus please help me, I know you can help me!” And about that time, my neighbor comes out to check on his grill, again. He starts saying something to me, but I don’t want to let the mower handle go because I’m afraid it’s going to die on me again and won’t start. So I pull it over to the fence and talk to him. He gives me a small little tidbit of advice that completely changes how I was going about it. “Tilt it back a little bit, then once you’ve cut it down some, go back over it. It shouldn’t die on you that way.”
Ohhh! Well-given advice is always appreciated, but MUCH appreciated right now, because I wanted to get this done before dark, and the sun was setting!
Lesson learned: Sometimes God sends others to correct our course of action, as they see us going about things all wrong. He does this so that we don’t get right in the middle of the problem and like that mower, just fizzle out and die there. Sometimes we just need to be open to hearing a little bit of corrective action from a brother or sister so that we can keep going strong until we finish this race.
I try exactly what he tells me, and it works perfectly! Why did I not think of that before??! In no time, I have finished my very small back yard, and I head to the side and front, noticing that the side of my lawn was just as tall as those really tall patches in the back.
“Jesus please! I know you can!” And I head straight into the thick of the grass—but this time, with my actions corrected. I make it through the thickest parts, until they are all leveled. Then I make my way to the front of the house, and I notice that the grass nearer the house is taller than the grass at the street. So, I get the tallest part, but then I just start going in circles around the rest of it. But something inside tells me “concentrate on the taller parts first” because honestly? The front part at the street was so low that the mower going over it barely made the slightest difference. I was really just wasting gas going over it.
But, in my refusal to follow that inner voice, that stubborn head of mine—I say “Jesus, I know that you can help me just finish this whole entire thing!” and yes, He could have. No doubt about it. But, He had also already just told me what to do. At that point, I was being greedy. I was being selfish. Because I knew that if I had obeyed, I would have got the taller parts cut. Even if it did die on the shorter parts, you couldn’t have really seen the difference anyways.
So, I kept going, round and round in circles, and about the 3rd or 4th pass around, it finally died—out of gas! It was sputtering before that, but I kept telling God, “I know you can do this, Please!” and yet, in my heart I felt the difference of asking “please” when I began this lawn-mowing journey tonight—willing to follow Him wherever He asked…and the coldness of heart when I asked Him toward the end, when I was just trying to do things my own way.
Lesson learned: Jesus loves to step in and help—sometimes sending a brother or sister to speak words of encouragement and advice to straighten our course and help us to finish strong.
However, Jesus also wants us to learn to listen to Him. So when we ignore that still small voice, and keep going down our own path anyway, regardless of what we know in our hearts, we are just wasting our own gas. We are running on our own steam at that point, and we are not operating under the power of Christ.
He doesn’t jump in to answer those prayers of protection and strength and power to keep going in our own direction. No, He will continue to beckon us back to Himself, but if we keep refusing, He will let our bad choices lead us to a place of regret and sorrow, if that is what it takes to bring us back to Him.
It is hopeful that we do not die there in our sin, but rather, that from that place, we realize how wrong we were in trying to go about this in our flesh, and pushing ourselves to do things that He has asked us not to do. When we finally get to the end of ourselves, that is when we can finally realize the error of our ways and turn back to Him, once again choosing to walk in the light of His ways.
Because none other will satisfy. Jesus alone is our satisfaction.