I’m going out on a limb here, yet I have to admit, I’m becoming a bit of a beer snob.
That is, after brewing a bit of my own beer, then getting introduced to other beers by guys at church and small groups I circulate with I’m developing a particular taste for quality drafted beers and ales.
My beer of choice is anything by St. Bernardus brewery, they will always do me just fine. Even a Smithwick’s Irish Red or a Goose Island Matilida will satisfy.
Yet last Wednesday my life was saved by a Bud Light…
It was a long and deeply frustrating day.
There I was at home all alone mowing my lawn and doing a good job at tearing up my lawnmower. I was getting angry, deeply frustrated and my neighbor who lives across the street does one of those attention getting whistles really loud at me. The mower shuts off and he asks, “Hey, you want a beer? You look thirsty.”
What you need to know is backdrop to this story as to why this was the Bud Light that saved my life.
I live in a home deep in the woods just outside of St. Louis County for 8+ years. In all that time my neighbor across the street has appeared somewhat frustrated with me. My silly dog ran through his freshly tar sealed driveway and drug her paw prints along his newly stained deck and I remember the tongue lashing I received. Maybe it’s my kids riding their bikes way half way up into his driveway. I’ve always assumed my neighbor really did not care for me or my family.
He’s older, retired and just not very talkative. For years whenever leaving the house alone, or with my family, I would cordially wave to my neighbor across the street. He’d oblige and wave back. From what I could tell it was just neighborly tolerance. I could not have been more wrong about my neighbor.
Yet today was different. I had had a really bad day.
Early in the day my laptop was just not agreeing with me. It took 3 restarts just to get to operating speed and I needed quotes to go out the door, emails to be returned and the like. Yet, my laptop had other plans. Type, crash, type type type, crash – restart – UGH!
Then while trying to get that part of my day going my smart phone begins exploding with requests for help from multiple friends and business sources. It was as if (jokingly) everyone conspired to contact me at once with questions they needed answers to. My only reaction was, “You gotta be kidding me! Now? Now everyone I know wants my attention? Ugh!”
Then it came time to drop off contracts I’d signed with clients and get work rolling. I kid you not, I found myself getting into three (yes 3) traffic jams in St. Louis while I was trying to turn in contracts, trying to get work done, and trying to earn money for my family. I had just about had it.
So I came home, looked at the clock and saw it was 4:45 PM. All I could think of was, “Dang it! Another day going down the tubes! Sorry, but I am not letting this day go to waste!” And standing there in my driveway in front of the garage made up my mind to pull out the ole’ rusty lawnmower and hack the overgrowth in the front of my property.
Unfortunately my mind and heart was was fried by the time I got going on my yard project. I’d unfortunately let the way my day was going get the better of me. More than that, I let my expectation of how the day SHOULD HAVE gone get the best of me and I turned my back on God’s goodness as I began tearing into my yard.
Have you been there? Just trying to be a son of God, just trying to be a good husband, just trying to be a good father, pay your bills by doing work for your family and nothing seems to go right? Nothing seems to go your way.
So you personally decide in your heart and even say “By God I will have some level of accomplishment to this day and nothing will go to waste as long as I’m in charge!” So you decide to do some yardwork, some overlooked project or something else and it’s all downhill from there.
Ever been there?
That was my day.
I’d decided in my heart I was going to get something back, something I felt I’d been robbed of.
My payment? A sense of accomplishment.
So I tackled the 50 yard stretch in front of my home under trees and began fighting the weeds and fighting the poison ivy trying to cut down all of the weeds and overgrowth that I had ignored for weeks. Shamefully, I bet I even took the Lords name in vain once or twice under my breath and my neighbor across the street noticed.
Push – pull – womp – womp – restart – push – pull – kick – drag – huff & puff… This overgrowth aint beating me! This day will not go down in flames!
Then out of the blue, a guy I literally think can’t stand me or my kids cause I believe he thinks we’re probably the neighborhood Hoodlums calls me over to sit down on his patio and have a beer to relax.
At the moment he called me, you need to know what was going though my mind and heart. I’ve been living through the roughest patch personally and professionally over the last two years. Our family is returning to ministry work and that day my broken heart thought, “When is someone going to pick up the phone and call me to see how I’m doing? I’ve been there for a good number of people God, when is someone going to be there for me?”
You see, I was not mad at my laptop. I was not mad at my smart phone for exploding with requests. I was not mad at being stuck in traffic and I was not mad at feeling I’d accomplished nothing – what I was truly mad at was the feeling as if I was all alone. So grabbing the mower and tackling my yard was my physical/spiritual way of shaking my fist at God upset with what He’d given me that day – better yet – what’d He’d given me for the last two years of my life through trials.
In my anger while mowing I said aloud in my head the question God needed to hear from me. A question I’d buried in my spirit unwilling to say, that is, “Why God? Why do I feel so alone as You are leading me? Are you there? Do you even care about what I am going through?”
God answered me in my anger. He touched the heart of my neighbor to touch mine.
My neighbor, the guy I had assumed a great deal about was the very guy who cooled me down. He offered me a beer and a chance to sit down and talk – MOST IMPORTANTLY – a chance to be listened to.
I’d been assuming a lot about God’s love, or lack there of and God in His unique way had to show me the shortcoming of my selfish thoughts by placing my neighbor in my life at the EXACT time I felt alone most.
God’s already supernaturally saved me through his Son Jesus – yet – mentally He continually rescues me from my thinking by placing people, events, circumstances and trials in my life.
I’ll go one step further, my heart tells me that God physically saved me that day and kept me from having a heart attack by placing my neighbor in my path at the time I was most physically consumed in my anger.
And all it took was a Bud Light to save my life.
- MEN’S ANGER – is no laughing matter. It’s scary, divisive and life-threatening. If people are asking why you seem angry more and more it because you are. Seek help now. Try this resource from Focus On The Family
- SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT – Is another sign of stress in your life. If you do not feel fulfilled and lack a sense of accomplishment chances are there is a hole you’re not letting God fill. As a man, stop and share this with trusted men of The Church, your small group or pastoral counselor.
- NEIGHBORS – So you think your neighbors don’t like you, that you can’t get along, or fill in the blank. Think again. More than 90% of our perceptions of others are wrong and rooted in the enemy of God’s lies we choose to believe. Walk across the street and SHARE and RECEIVE God’s love for you.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31
Think about it…