Last Sunday I heard one of my heroes of the faith say he has offered opinions on topics that have compromised his effectiveness at reflecting the nature of Christ. Sometimes the topics were political, sometimes they were about what other churches are teaching, but what really struck me was that this guy–who I consider to be one of the best people on the planet at communicating Christ–sees himself as a failure in this way. I felt horrible after hearing that sermon, because I had to ask myself,
Where does that leave me?
I’m as nothing compared to this man. I remember him telling a story a long time ago about how he encountered a skunk walking next to him, and how he took it as a message from the Lord that he stunk.
A similar thing happened to me on October 7, 2013. I was angry that day, so I did what I often do when I’m angry, I went for a hike and talked to our Father about it. I was hiking the trail up to Hobart Bluff above Ashland, Oregon. I was almost to the place on the trail where you take a hard left and climb up to the top, where you’re rewarded with a spectacular view. It was at this point that a skunk walked out of the brush and stopped right in front of me in the middle of the path. I laughed and said out loud, Really Father? Seriously? Okay, I get it–I stink.
I wished I had captured that skunk in a photo because I doubted anyone would believe what happened. I mean, the skunk just stood there in the middle of the path. I had to turn around and go back to the car. God sent an angel to block the path of Balaam Peor. I’m not worthy of an angel–for me, a skunk was more appropriate. (Numbers 22:21-22) (Chiefest of Sinners)
Well a little over a week ago, on June 5, 2014, I was upset about something else (can’t even remember what exactly–what does that tell you), so I went for a walk and complained in prayer to our Father. This time I was just a few miles from the house on East Barnett Road in Medford, Oregon. And as I was walking and whining in prayer, a skunk appeared and began to walk along side me. He walked with me for about 30 feet or so. He didn’t even notice me, until I started taking his picture, and I realized I was receiving the same message, in the same way, from our God, for the second time: “Kurt, you stink!”
If you don’t believe me, this time I caught him on camera. He’s the one in the photos.
God help me.
Father, please fill me and anyone reading this article, with Jesus Christ. Fill us to the overflowing. Fill us with your Son until there is no room left for ourselves. Bless us with the privilege of communicating Jesus’ nature, love, and countenance wherever we go. Have mercy on us Father, and bless us with Your Holy Spirit in this way.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:5-11)
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Besides the scriptures, it’s events like these that make me believe our God is a personal God. When I’m on a hike and feeling in the flow of God’s will, I tend to see doves–not skunks.