Sitting in Starbucks, I concentrated on the to-do list in my hand, attempting to be thankful for my warm, comforting chai tea latte. It had already been a long week. It was Tuesday. I mulled over all I had to do. I grieved over what I had not done yet. I craved peace of mind – though I would have settled for peace of moment. Alas, it was not to be.
Not far away sat two chatty young women loudly grousing about their horrible parents, the shortcomings of their boyfriends (in explicit and varied detail) and their general discontent that their teachers were obviously stupid. Virtually every comment was punctuated by a 4-letter word, and I cringed with each verbal assault on my senses and on the English language.
I tried to move farther away, hoping to give a silent signal of disapproval, but it was getting busy and seats were limited. So I sat. I fumed. I began to gulp down my tea and gather my things hastily. I had a few not-so sweet thoughts about these interlopers…I was quite close to marching over there and telling them both to pipe down…
Yup. God. I felt the nudge – He reminded me of a self-absorbed teenager I once knew many years ago.
A girl who was once described this way, “Such a cute girl, too bad she has such a foul mouth. It’s such a turn-off.” That girl grew into a young woman who was just as bad…following her own crooked, self-serving path. The same woman who was described by her manager as very successful in meeting her goals, and leaving footprints on the backs of others to get there….
Ah yes, I knew that girl. I wished I had not…and apart from the grace of God…apart from meeting Jesus Christ and asking him to change her from the inside out….well, I would know her still. She was me. I was the loud mouth. I was the one who had an opinion about everyone and everything.
I shushed my mental assault on these girls. My conscience levied against me as I remembered a few other choice words, spoken by our Lord across the centuries, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:27.
I have always thought that God speaks to us in the language we understand, and at that moment, he reminded me of something a wise friend always says about difficult people.
“God’s not through with them yet.” He wasn’t through with these girls nor is He through with any of us. So I stopped my own internal grousing and I offered a silent prayer for them…that He would begin a good work in them both – just as he did in me years before…
I left Starbucks with a revised perspective and a lesson learned at the hands and heart of the Master Teacher…and though my personal storms of the day had not calmed down, God did calm me. For He promises those He calls His own, “and being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Thank God He isn’t through completing me yet either. Surely, He still has a lot of work to do. 😉