Wet dog, bad attitude, and a kingdom encounter...
I wasn't feeling well. Had a super bad attitude and was very impatient with my family after being in the car for two hours with restless kids and a smelly, wet dog who got out of the dog crate and was getting her muddy, wet, stinky paws everywhere. We stopped at the Family Dollar store to get air fresheners for the suburban and dog shampoo.
As I was checking out at Family Dollar, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me about a back condition in someone's body. I was like, no way! I'm in a bad mood, have a smelly, wet dog, just lost my patience with my kids and wife, not feeling well, and we have tired, hungry kids in the car. I can't be hearing anything right now. This is bad timing... and on and on. To top it off, I felt such a strong sense of fear and embarrassment that I would miss it and look foolish.
There I was ready to pay and get out of the store as fast as I could, but the impression wouldn't go away. I had this thought that I don't need to do this now. It's OK to just pay and go home. There was a battle going on in the inside of me. Just when I was about to muster up a bit of courage and sheepishly ask the cashier if she had this condition, wouldn't you know, two other people came up and stood in the line ready to check out. The risk factor just increased even greater. Then the fear of looking like an idiot shouted all the more louder in my head, along with "don't you remember your bad attitude with your family and wet dog?" These thoughts were just beating me to a pulp, and I have to admit I was giving in.
I paid and grabbed my stuff and was ready to get out of there as fast as I could. Then out of nowhere, I opened my mouth, turned to all 3 people, and said, "Which one of you has pain in your lower back?" They all three looked and me like, why are you asking. The cashier said, "I do off and on," and another lady in line said, "I do too, but not at the moment. Why do you ask?"
All I could think was, why didn't I keep my big mouth shut? Then I said, "Well, sometimes I get sympathy-like pains for people." The cashier had an awed look on her face, and the other lady nodded her head and said, "I get that. Wow!" Then the only other guy in line who looked a bit intimidating said, "I don't like you, man!"
Oh crap! Now I'm going to get beat up! I felt fear really hit me. Then I thought, wait a minute! So I looked the guy right in the eye and said, "Why wouldn't you
like me?" He snarled at me as he said, "Man, my back hurts so bad in so much pain." I wasn't sure if he was going to hit me or what.
I asked him, "What's your name?"
"Mine's Gabriel," he replied. ( He didn't look like an angel with good news. LOL) "Gabriel, let me see your hand," I said. He looked at me with bullet-piercing eyes, took my hand with a firm grip, and I said, "Thank you, Jesus, for your presence. Back pain, go now." Gabriel let go of my hand, shook his head, and snarled again, saying, "I can't believe this!"
"What?" I asked.
"I don't have any more back pain. It's all gone."
"Do you know why this happened?" I asked. He said he didn't know why. I said, "It's because of the love of God for you."
He looked at me and said, "I used to go to church, but I have to work all the time." He told me he works three jobs, and his back had been in so much pain, and now it's gone. I reiterated to him that it was God who took away his pain. I smiled and said, "Enjoy your new back!"
I left the store shaking my head, thanking God for his goodness, and stepped back into the stinky suburban with a softened heart. I apologized to my family and told them what happened. It's amazing how the goodness of God really causes our hearts to soften and repent. Remember, the kingdom of God is always at hand, even when you don't feel good, have a bad attitude, and a smelly, wet dog is messing up your ride with restless, hungry kids needing your attention.