I had to pray very hard, today, friends.
In church this morning, as we were reading Matthew 4:1-11 about the temptation of Christ in the desert, these two women behind me began talking to a baby, in a baby talk. Then a man joined in and kept saying weird things like "Oh you are strong!" as they encouraged the baby to rip up paper. I imagine they handed the baby the actual Bible to crinkle and rip and shove in their mouths as a teething toy.
It was all really annoying--I was trying to listen to the WORD OF GOD NOT THE WORDS OF ADULTS SPEAKING LIKE BABIES.
I was desperate to make scoffing noises, followed by turning around and glaring and then wrapped up with telling them to bless their hearts and shut their mouths.
Oh, how I was tempted.
I mean, they were acting as if this was the first baby ever, on the earth and it was immediately necessary to comment on the glory on the first baby ever. For the record, the baby in question, was quiet and only occasionally made a happy baby noise, at a volume appropriate for church. I also got the impression the man was the one crinkling up the Bible to demonstrate to the baby how he wished the baby to behave.
Anyway, I had to pray, very hard, as hard as Jesus prayed when the Devil offered him a loaf of bread and a kingship, in order to not do and say all the things I was imagining.
I know this isn't a pretty confession; but it is an honest one. God knows my heart, so no sense in hiding it. I wanted those baby lovers to shut the front door, immediately. And then I wanted them to never come back and maybe get a GI bug.
Ugly thoughts, friends.
I really hope they are not about to get a GI bug; after all I shook their hands during the passing of peace before I knew what was ahead!
I also don't harbor any true ill-will towards them. I was simply tempted to have ill-will! The devil whispered in my ear. . ."you hear that? interrupting the word of the Lord!" When in reality, there is nothing that can interrupt the word of the Lord--the Lord speaks to us in ways we can always hear. The devil prodded me. . . "you can be a champion and make your church better if you tell them to be quiet." when the truth is the Lord love us loudly and we should love him loudly, too. And the truth is also that the Lord does not call any single one of us to be His champion, He calls all of us, collectively. The Lord is not looking for leaders; He is looking for followers and community and church.
And church is filled with imperfect people--the baby talkers, the eye rollers (that's me) and all the sinners--each of us good enough for Christ and good enough for each other.