Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Little Old Ladies

Kristy and I live two houses from a private high school in beautiful Metairie, LA. It just so happens that this school’s parking lot provides a great shortcut to get to my house – much quicker than if I take the regular route. The gates are always open, so I have always assumed that the school must want me to use their parking lot to get to my home. About 2 months ago, I did my normal cut through the parking lot only to find that the gate that I usually exit through to get home was closed.

There are actually 3 gates that I could exit through to get home; so I slowly drove past the first closed gate only to notice that the other two were also closed. As I circled around the parking lot and looked through the gate at my house I figured that getting out of my car to open the gate might be a little inconvenient, but it would get me home quicker. So, I pulled up to the gate, stepped out of my car, took 2 steps towards the gate, when all of a sudden I heard a high pitched voice from behind me yelling, “Sir! Sir! Please don’t open that gate sir!”

For the past 4 months, I have been stuck in this one book by Watchman Nee entitled Spiritual Authority. In his book, Nee makes every effort to explain that as Christians, God desires that we would learn to submit to authority. Nee explains that to submit to authority is to submit to God and the one who rebels against authority ultimately is rebelling against God.

Nee writes in his book, “Whoever has met authority deals purely with authority and not with man. Let us not see the man but only the authority vested in him. We do not obey man but God’s authority in that man.”

Since reading the book, I have asked God on a number of occasions to show me my shortcomings, to challenge me, to teach me, to show me the places where I might actually be living in rebellion towards God – either directly or indirectly. I have asked God to make me aware of His authority everywhere that I go.

To be quite honest, I really thought that God might choose to use my boss or a mentor, a police officer or someone who has some real authority in my life. Instead he chose to use a little old lady yelling at me with her high pitched voice.

You might think that this really isn’t a big deal.

So what? Who cares? Some lady asks me not to use the gate, so I just get in my car and leave.


Where’s the brush with authority? Where’s the rebellion in that?

Well, let me finish the story…

As I turned around to face this woman, something inside of me began to burn with anger. I could feel my face turning a bright shade of red. My ears began to burn and I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my bald head.

I had been caught red handed and I was so mad. I knew that it was private property. I knew that it was wrong to cut through the parking lot. I knew that it was wrong to get out of my car and attempt to open the gate. I knew all of these things. Unfortunately, none of those thoughts were going through my head.

Instead I was having other thoughts. Evil thoughts. Thoughts like:

Woman! Do you know who I am? (Now, to be quite honest with you, I’m not even sure what I meant by this question. I mean…really…who am I? I am Brian Jeansonne – the guy who cuts through this parking lot illegally, every single day!)

Thoughts like:

She is little, brittle and old. I bet that I could open that gate, get back in my car and drive out of here before she could even run those 30 yards or get my plate numbers…

Thoughts like:

Who does this crazy woman think she is, telling me not to open up this gate?

To make matters even worse, I consciously chose to turn and glare at her. I didn’t say anything with my mouth; I just let my eyes do the talking. I could not believe that she was telling me what to do, or what not to do.

As I got back into my car to make the journey home, I kept mulling over how angry I was…and then it happened. As I sat at the red light, blood pressure raised, sweat rolling off of my brow, I sensed God ask me: “Brian, why are you rebelling against me?”

And it was at that moment that I realized (again) that I have much still to learn and that God will use anyone or anything necessary to teach me.

So, if you are looking for a good heart challenge; if you’re looking to take a journey and learn a little bit about what it truly means to submit to God’s authority in your own life, I recommend two things:

Number one: Check out Watchman Nee’s Spiritual Authority

Number two: Watch out for little old ladies