The Refreshing

The man gave the bolt a final twist and stepped back from under the hood of the car. He wiped his grimy hands on a rag and then stuffed it in his back pocket. He gave a satisfied sigh as he headed to the office and the coffee pot. The coffee was strong and fresh, just like he liked it. Tossing a grin to Gertrude, his part time office help, he said, “Gertie, call Kent Boudreaux and let him know his car is ready and he can pick it up any time today.”

With only a little regret, he set his cup down and headed to back the car from the bay and bring in another to work on. Thank goodness God was good to provide so much work when the economy was so bad. Just as the back wheels cleared the bay doors, one of them ran over something. He didn’t have a clue what it could have been, since it had only been a couple of hours since he’d driven the car in the bay. Then his heart constricted and he groaned in sudden agony.

Alfie’s job was to meet and greet all customers that came into the shop. His throne was the cushioned chair that was next to the desk. Sure it was grimy, but it was comfortable for a small, snowy white, very fluffy dog. Normally, Alfie rarely ventured into the bay area. He preferred the cool office and comfy cushion to the cool, but mucky shop floor. Alfie was the beloved owner of the man and his family, which was his other job, to give love and happiness to those he loved best.

The man climbed from the car, dreading what he must find. Sure enough, Alfie was laying still and flat under the car. Tears welled up, and his heart wrenched again. Suddenly, the bright day darkened to night. The dog must have scooted out the door when he got coffee. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the shop, the dog had obviously disobeyed the standing command.

He cradled the little dog in his arms, unsure of what to do. The lifeless form just lay there, head lolled back and tiny pink tongue slack instead of happily panting. The shop owner sat down in a grease-smudged chair with the dog across his lap. What should he do? How would he tell his sweet wife and those precious girls what had happened to Alfie? Finally, he decided to put the dog in the dog food bag, and place him in the dumpster. In this concrete garden, there wasn’t anywhere to bury a pet.

The rest of the day, he worried and fretted how to tell the family they had lost one of their own that day. There was no good way, so he blurted it out as soon as he made it home. Rain began to patter against the home’s windows and it seemed God was sharing the family’s grief.
Next morning, what was normally a joy to hop out of bed and head to work became a heavy chore. Sighing heavily, all the way to work, he opened the shop for daily work, sans his beloved, tiny, fluffy employee.

The coffee had just finished brewing when the owner of the neighboring body shop burst into the office. “Are you going to tell me why your dog is in the dumpster?”

“Well, Jeb, I know he’s in the dumpster. I didn’t have any place else to put him. I ran over him yesterday.

“No, you don’t understand. Your dog is barking and jumping and trying to get out of that dumpster!”

“What? Are you kidding me?” With joyful heart, the man ran to the dumpster and grabbed up that fluffy bundle of excitement. That little pink tongue was exploring every inch of his face. That little dog had only been knocked out, and the most refreshing rain, that gift from God, had refreshed and revived him. Alfie wasn’t dead, after all, he just needed reviving.

How many Christians today look dead? How many are asleep at the wheel or get knocked silly by being someplace they are not supposed to be? Disobedience breaks fellowship with the LORD, and we can’t afford that when we need to be ready for that great and glorious day the Father looks at the Son and says, “Go get Your Bride, Son.” Glory!

Paul tells the Ephesians in chapter two verse one and following: 2:1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2 At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3 Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.

Paul was talking about how they acted as unbelievers, but I am thinking it sounds a lot like Believers of today. The Bride of Christ is sick these days, sick with the evil ways of the world. We can be like the Rich Young Ruler and say: These commands I have kept, I have not sinned.
But, how many of us have watched a movie lately in which God’s name was blasphemed? How many of us worry and fret, harbor anger… bitterness… jealousy, seek vengeance, are critical of others, controlling, gossip, pray by rote, fudge the truth, go places we shouldn’t go, do things in secret that we’d die if it were printed on the front page of the newspaper? How many pirate music? How many think if it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s okay? How many haven’t returned something that was borrowed? How many of us allow work, family, hobbies, play time come first instead of the LORD?

How many of us have given up on a brother or sister in Christ because he looks dead? How often have we thrown a sibling in the dumpster without thought to the prayers of a righteous man and the resuscitation process laid out by Jesus in Matthew 18: 15-17?

Nothing happens in secret that will not be found out, and nothing done in the dark will not be brought to light. But, why would a front page news story matter more than what God thinks of us? How could it matter more than our precious relationship and that refreshing rain from above?

Revive us LORD Jesus, send your refreshing rain of blessings, wash us clean, and awaken us from our dead sleep. Help us watch and be ready… The Bride awaits her Groom. Come LORD Jesus and find Your Bride doing the mighty works prepared before the foundation of the world. AMEN.

This column was inspired by one of my favorite preachers, Dr. Preston Nix. He is an Associate Professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and he is leading us in revival this week.
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