You Know Me

 ” . . . you know me.”
“Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
You know everything I do;

from far away you understand all my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:1-2)
Well, I was on my way to lead a wedding rehearsal a couple of weeks ago at a state park near Weston.  A storm had moved through the area right before I arrived and then quickly cleared with bright sunshine and blue skies behind it.  As I neared the front gate of the park, I came upon this rather large snapping turtle almost in the middle of the highway.
Fortunately he was near a parking lot, so I quickly pulled over and grabbed my camera.  I was concerned for him because he was right in the line of traffic.  As I headed back toward the turtle I saw one car straddle him, and heard his shell scrape on the car’s bottom.  Remembering what my dad had always taught me about snapping turtles (that they have strong tails and very long necks allowing them to turn around and bite someone foolish enough to hold them by the tail) I picked up a large stick to see if I could help prod him the rest of the way across the road.  Much to my surprise, he did not appreciate my help!
The claws came out as he hissed his disapproval and made a move for me and my stick.  After a couple of attempts I had what our teens would call one of those “well, duh” moments.  It occurred to me that this snapping turtle wasn’t trying to make his way across the highway.  He was simply lying on the heated asphalt sunning his shell and warming his belly.  I was interfering with his efforts, thus the hiss and claws!  Because I failed to ask the critter his intentions before trying to help, I wound up in an argument with a snapping turtle.  Instead of feeling the satisfaction of a job well done, I was left with the sting of failure because I’d failed to remember one of the basics of helping – getting to know the one you’re trying to help before you offer help.  Why didn’t I first listen to that turtle before I decided he needed me to poke his tail with my stick?  Obviously, it started me wondering . . .
The truth is that if I don’t take the time to get to know you, there’s not much chance of my being able to offer the help you really need.  So why would I not take the time to get to know you?  Maybe it’s because if I don’t really know you it’s easier for me to distance you.  If I don’t know you it’s easier for me to discredit you.  If I don’t know you it’s easier for me to judge you.  If I don’t know you it’s easier for me to blame you.  If I don’t know you it’s easier for me to condemn you.  If I don’t know you its easier for me to hurt you.  If I don’t know you it’s easier for me to hate you.
On the other hand, if I take the time to get to know you I might just start to like or even love you.  If I get to know you I might find you’re more like me than different.  If I get to know you I might be able to offer really needed help.  If I get to know you I might be blessed by your loving me as I learn to love you.  All of that happens only if I first get to know you.
Wondering about all of this , it gives so much more meaning and power to the psalmist’s words when I read,
“Lord, you have examined me and you know me. You know everything I do; from far away you understand all my thoughts.”  The Lord knows me.  Wow!  Enough said.  I pray that God will give me the courage, patience, desire, and love to get to know you and all of God’s other beautiful you’s.  How about you?
 
Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
 
PS – You missed a couple of weeks of “Wednesday Wonderings” because I was attending the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and spending a week with our church’s youth on our annual mission trip.
Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm
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~ by revgenelson on June 22, 2016.

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