Again and again the phone rang and the voices on the other end called themselves heartbreak, rejection, and frustration. Wanting answers from the Lord, I grabbed my Bible and headed to the dock. Before my feet even reached the walkway a rental pontoon boat pulled up near our dock filled with a loud boisterous family looking for a place to swim. Resentment began to creep into my heart..."Couldn't you go somewhere else where there isn't a person trying to enjoy the privacy of their own dock" I thought.
No sooner had I spread my towel in my lounge chair than a boat whizzed by with a wake boarder well within the 50' dock limit...music blared from the boat's speakers and our floating dock rocked violently from the waves formed by the boat's wake.
"You've got to be kidding me, I thought. This is a Wednesday, where have all these people come from."
Repulsed by my reactions I asked the Lord, "What has happened to the woman who would have normally asked these people in for lemonade and invited them to church on Sunday?"
After dinner I opened my email and a friend had recommended the preaching of a pastor named Jim Denison. I never got to his online sermon, but the C.S.Lewis passage from Mere Christianity on his blog caught my attention.
“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything–God and our friends and ourselves included–as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”
Now I don't believe we become devils and neither does Pastor Denison, but I do believe it is easy to grow into a grumble and get stuck there. We need to take our reactions of resentment and repulsion and replace them with a renewed spirit. Growing weary the other day a girl friend and I closed out our prayer time with ABC praise. We took each letter of the alphabet and found a reason to praise which began with that letter. It really helped our attitudes. We did get stuck on "Q" and "X". We rejoiced that we could put an "x" over Satan's attempts to discourage!
God's Word has some powerful insight related to renewal.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16