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.
[To read the rest of this story, please click over to ATX Catholic.]