I know that at the beginning it was a dream, but at some point – I know not when or where – I became awake. It started at a small, two-pump Marathon station way down south. I pulled in with my Trax to get some gas because I was driving on fumes. Other family members were following me in the van. I pulled up to the pump and began fueling the motorcycle I was driving. It needed less than a gallon – it was the family van that I had been driving that really needed gas. Rather than closing out the purchase, I laid the nozzle on top of the pump and waved to have the van pull up. For some reason they never came. Instead they parked and walked into the convenience store at the station. As I ran over to get their attention to move the van, someone else pulled up to the pump. I never did find out if they filled up on my credit card or theirs. I am irritated.
The next thing I know I am driving the van in the largest truck-servicing Mobil station I have ever seen! We cannot find our way out. Finally we pull up next to a long line of semis that look to be leaving, hoping we can cut in line, for we have no idea where the line starts. No-one will let us in. Finally a female from our van – I am not sure, but I think it was Monica – walks over to one of the trucks and climbs up to the window. She explains our situation, and he promises to let us cut in. She comes back to our van, but for some unknown reason after opening the side door, she does not get in. The semi waits. I do not move. The door remains open. The only thing that happens is that I become more irritated. … Have I ever mentioned that I do not like either Marathon or Mobile, and never use their gas?
I look at the clock and roll over, not quite ready to get up. Suddenly I find myself walking into the Speedway station right by our condo. I am there 2-3 times each week, usually just to pick up the Free Press. I know the place and the people know me, but this time things do not go well. I find a silver bag of something that I want, but I put it into my pocket to fill my coffee cup. When I get to the register, I forget about the silver bag in my pocket and pay only for my coffee. After I walk out, I remember the silver bag and turn back to correct my mistake. There is now a long line for the cash register. When it is finally my turn, there is a new employee at the window who insists on charging me for my coffee along with the silver bag. In frustration, I decline to purchase the silver bag while paying a second time for my coffee.
At this point I realize that my only hope is to get out of bed, put on my exercise clothes, and spend some time on the elliptical.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7.24-25) Brene’ Brown has a name for those negative stories we tell ourselves that lead to illegitimate foul moods, but I cannot think of it this morning. What I do know is that it was more God’s Word and prayer that rescued me than the elliptical.
I am better now. Both of our vehicles are safe in the garage, adequately fueled. I do not think that I have ever even sat on a moving motorcycle. I believe I am ready for my day … but maybe not (some of the irritation seems to be lingering under the surface)
“Now, the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8.6) It would have been so easy to start the day irritated – even mad at Monica for not getting into the van – but “thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” I was rescued. Those bad thoughts can be killers. Thus, I also have received renewed appreciation for Paul’s words from Philippians 4: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things … and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4.8-9) So, my question is much more important than, “What’s in your wallet?” Rather, it is “What bad thoughts are in your head … and how will God rescue you from you today from your “body od death”?