Spider On Me

   It was my very first job. but calling it that gives the impression there was work involved. Most kids my age were earning gas money flippin’ burgers or folding tee-shirts. I somehow lucked out and was getting a paycheck for listening to music all day. A very nice man at our local christian bookstore was having trouble keeping up with all the new music being released, so he hired me to keep up with it. I was in charge of listening to music, and then ordering any and everything I wanted to for the store. They kept calling it my job, but no kidding it was like getting payed to eat ice-cream. I would have easily done it for free.

  This little christian book store wasn’t in a shopping center, or a mall. It was just a small white cinder-block building out by the radio tower on the edge of town. It was owned and operated by two gentlemen that genuinely loved their work. They both considered it a calling more than a job, and it showed. They were Laurel and Hardy-like it that one was a gentle, but giant of a man, while the other, reserved and diminutive in comparison.

   Now as much fun as it was to listen to music all day, nothing was more entertaining nor made the job more worthwhile, than to listen to these two guys go at it, on whatever the days’ topic might be. It wasn’t a fight. It wasn’t a  debate or competition. It was more like a conversational event. It would begin anew each morning, and last until closing. You’d just toss a subject out there on the floor between them, and by the end of the day they will have talked the hide off of it. It may be stories, or authors, or wisdom’s, or scriptures and theologies. These men embraced a good talk about it, while I embraced a good listen.

  Bibles were the biggest seller of course. Everyone pitched in with that. On this particular morning, I just happen to be the guy at the counter when the bell on the door jingled in a customer looking for a new bible. She was a pleasant middle-aged woman, and though I didn’t ask, I would guess a mother, wife, and homemaker. She told me what she was looking for and I placed several selections of bibles on the counter between us. We talked for a while about each one and tried to narrow down what might best suit her needs.

  At some point this lady asked to see a bible on the display shelf behind me. I stepped to retrieved the bible, but when I turned back around she had jumped ten or fifteen feet back from the counter. She was clutching her oversized purse in front of her for protection, and staring at my legs with a look of absolute horror on her face. I instantly became afraid because the only time anyone makes a face like that without saying anything, is when there is a really big spider on you and they’re too scared to help.

  I froze in my tracks and tried my best to stay calm. That was on the outside. On the inside, I was something like; AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, please don’t bite, please don’t bite me, AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!

   I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to look. I moved like I was handling nitro, tense and certain something really bad was about to happen. I anticipated seeing a giant Brown Recluse spider crawling up my leg, and at speed. My first glance I didn’t see anything, which in its way made things worse. Where was it? Is it moving? Please don’t let me feel it touch my neck.

  Just as the creep factor was about to reach its apex, the lady finally spoke. “You’re a sin.”, she said forcefully and sure of herself,  but still clutching her purse in fear. Before I could grasp what was happening, she rebuked me again. “You’re an abomination to God. You are sin and evil in His eyes, and He has crippled you.”, her voice louder. I was having a hard time catching up to how fast everything was happening. One second I’m talking to a very pleasant mild-mannered housewife. The next I’m receiving my first damnation from a genuinely sincere and more than a little frightened lady, that is convinced satan just tried to sell her a bible. Not to mention I still wasn’t completely sure there wasn’t a spider on me.

   Before I could catch up,  the two owners dropped what was in their hands and literally ran to my aid. The last thing she did was point her finger and call me a sin again, as she was being hurried out the door by my rescuers. The bell on the door clanged loudly as it was slammed shut. The owners turned immediately to me in stunned silence, and not knowing exactly what to say. I had no idea how to react either, so I took the obvious choice and broke the tension with, “Well, I’ll be damned.”. (they got it)

  By now I realized that with the counter between us, she never saw me from the waist down. Until I stepped to get a bible off of the shelf, this poor woman had no idea I wore leg braces. This was a first for me. I had certainly on rare occasion known people to be uncomfortable around me because of the polio, but I had never actually freaked somebody out before. Now put away your tissues if you’re thinking I was traumatized by all this. I wasn’t. Remember, I was only eighteen months old when I got polio, so there was never any danger of being convinced I had done something at that age to make God cripple-makin’ mad. It was far more drama than trauma. It would have been easiest to think this lady was simply a little crazy, but she wasn’t. She was just a person. She was any of us. Sure , it was dramatic, but not at all difficult to understand. For her, polio was a cruelty that is beyond a loving and forgiving God. He wouldn’t do such a thing to someone He loved. That made me an abomination to God in her eyes. It’s a line in the sand. If God loves me, why doesn’t He heal me?

  Well I have only lived this one life so maybe I’m limited in understanding, but I can tell you from my experience;………What God doesn’t choose to heal, He uses to heal.

  God did heal me. He just used polio to do it. It’s understandable that people only see what polio takes away. They think sometimes that it devastates any chance of a truly full and fulfilling life. Fact is though, it gets you there a lot quicker. See, for any and everyone on this earth that longs in their heart to be something in this lifetime. To really have something and do something with their lives. ANYONE in search of their “something-ness”,…….must first pass through their own nothingness. Polio was the bullet train that took me to my own nothingness.

  As long as there have been people, we have struggled with “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people.”. We think that we’re angry because of what God may have done to us, when in fact we’re upset with Him for ever having loved us in the first place. I am in a woefully, infinitely, epicly lopsided relationship of love with God. He has everything to bring to the relationship, and I have nothing to bring to the relationship. There’s nothing I can earn to balance the scales, and no way to earn it if there was. God loves me with the advantage of perfect knowledge, perfect understanding,  with every abundance, and every ability. I love Him back with none of those things. Most of all God loves me in a state of eternity. He had an eternity before I got here to prepare, and He has eternity left to get it right. I love Him from a speck of time, in a speck of nowhere by comparison. I’m in a relationship with someone whose only flaw, whose only imperfection, whose only weakness, whose only mistake,…..is me.

  He knew that. He knew a relationship like this wouldn’t work. How am I ever suppose to believe God really knows what He’s doing, if He loves me? There is no possible way for me to EVER accept that I’m worth it to God.

  To show that He completely understood where I was coming from, He took it to its furtherest point. I thought I was bad and worthless and He decided to show me the truth about how bad and worthless I really am………..He sent His perfect and blameless son here. He knew what I would do to Him. He knew our standards, our motto “If we can kill it, it ain’t God.”. And of course He was right. I killed Him. I ended the speculation, I ended any doubt. Here God, this is the real me, THIS is what you are in love with.

  I guess I thought that would stop it. No more “Don’t you think I love you? Don’t you believe I want to give everything I have to you? To give everything I am, to you? Don’t you believe Me when I say I will love you forever? That I forgive you completely and forever? Don’t you believe Me when I say I love you without measure?”.

NOOOO, no, no, a thousand times no Lord. I couldn’t possibly accept that. I couldn’t possibly be less deserving.

  God just smiled at me and said “Of course you couldn’t son. Of course you could never believe I would really do any of these things for you. I’ll stop asking”. Then with all the love there is, He looked at Jesus a long moment, and then looked back at me and said, ” One more question though. Do you believe I would for Him?”.

  Happy Easter everyone.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. David Hightower
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 14:22:40

    Another wonderfully compassionate and profound story from our Brother, Jay!


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