If you like this story, you can thank the Holy Spirit. As I’ve learned so many times since discovering my faith 11 years ago, there is no such thing as a coincidence.
Whenever my monthly deadline to write for ATX Catholic approaches, I frequently turn to the Holy Spirit and the daily Mass readings for inspiration. But alas, I did not see or hear anything clearly for today, October 12, 2016.
So I considered writing about a funny story from my secular childhood and wondered if there was a spiritual lesson I could apply retroactively.
I grew up in south Florida, and my parents had a pool in the back yard. One summer day (actually, many summer days) my brother and I were roughhousing in the pool and splashing quite a bit of water out of the pool. My father was lounging in a chair nearby, smoking a cigar (Don’t try that at home; smoking’s bad for you.) and reading a book. He wasn’t planning to swim, so he wore regular clothes.
He was rightfully getting annoyed that we were wasting so much water, so after a prior warning he more forcefully admonished us to stop. I was generally a good kid, but in the heat of the moment I turned into a smart aleck and thought it would be funny to ask a daring question.
“What are you going to do, jump in here and spank us?”
He immediately dropped his cigar and book, jumped up out of the chair and took a flying leap into the pool!
I don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but I imagine just the fear alone was enough to convince me to correct my behavior in the future.
As a wondered how I could work this experience into a religious blog post, I considered the topic of discipline. The Bible is packed with lessons on how the Lord disciplines us like a parent disciplines a child. But I still could not come up with a refined theme.
I took the matter to prayer and heard quite clearly that I should focus more on the topic testing the Lord. There are many lessons in the good book telling us not to test God. But I remained uninspired to look up scripture and try to tie this into the pool story.
Then a few days later, I received a very unexpected call. Someone asked me to take on a major role helping to lead a ministry event next March. I felt overwhelmed and unworthy for this endeavor. So before a gave an answer, I grabbed the Bible.
The ministry event concludes with Mass on Sunday, March 5, 2017. This passage from the day’s gospel reading practically screamed at me:
Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
The Lord sure is sneaky! I had been thinking about this very topic and then suddenly I was asked to lead a large ministry event on the same day that Jesus reminds us in the Gospel reading not to test God.
It is a wise reminder never to underestimate the power of scripture. Is there an important date coming up? Maybe it’s something exciting you are looking forward too. Or perhaps it’s something stressful and worrisome that you are not looking forward to. Grab the Bible, look up the Mass readings for that day and see what the Lord has to say about it.