I have to confess that God just totally bumped me. I never could have seen it coming. Tonight after church we walked into the bookstore and a boy randomly said, “Pray for Samuel Green*” to everyone he passed by. I stopped. I didn’t know him, but I knew that name. You see, a few years back I bought a new cell phone and foolishly traded in my old cell number for a couple hundred free minutes and a newly reassigned number. The number that to this day still gets calls from collection agencies trying to reach Samuel C. Green. The other week I was astonished by the rudeness of the person who wanted to find him. So that name has been like a splinter that refuses to surface, irritated to the touch.
I questioned them about the man, asking if his middle initial happened to be “C.” It was indeed. (They must have been surprised.) Positive identification. And I learned that at this moment he’s recovering in the hospital from a double bypass heart surgery. And that his wife and son love him. My splinter has a family? Has connections to MY church? Good heavens, his picture is even in one of the old directories. Simply reeling. Because now I realise that the wood had sprouted and grown a bitter root. I was angry at this person for littering up the number with bad records and then bailing on it. I was upset about the inconvenience and never really considered the life behind it. Sure I prayed for him once in a while, but more because it was the right thing to do than because I cared. Time for repentance. Go ahead and get the tweezers, Lord, I promise to hold still.
“1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51.
*Name changed, of course.