Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
It is irony at its finest, I suppose, that has me writing this particular column on a very rare half day off for me…
It was more than twenty years ago that I knew my life was ending in mere seconds. I remember my wife screaming my name as the phone hung from its cord, and I lay in the floor holding the back of my neck where I had been shot.
I owned and operated a jewelry store and repair shop in those days. I used the very good money I made there to pay my way through Bible college, and then to help get our church up and running. Once the church was able to stand on its own, I closed the store and went full time as a pastor and have never looked back.
It was mid-December, which meant the Christmas rush. I would deal with customers from ten to five, and then spend till midnight in the shop sizing rings, fixing chains, and making custom jewelry for people.
One of those late nights I was pleasantly interrupted by a call from my dear bride, Dana, just checking on me to see how things were going. We chatted about the day, discussed her work, flirted, made plans for the next day… and then it happened.
No sooner had I heard the gunshot, I felt a searing pain at the base of my skull. I dropped the phone and screamed, “I’ve been shot!” and then fell in the floor into a fetal position, holding the back of my head. I could feel the warm blood in my hands… I could hear Dana screaming my name… and then I heard a very high-pitched whistling sound.
And realized I was still alive.
And also realized that I was getting wet.
I rolled over and looked up, and began to laugh hysterically as Dana continued to scream my name.
One of the main pieces of equipment I used on a daily basis was a jewelry steam cleaner. That steam cleaner had a glass eye on the front that allowed me to monitor the water level and know when I needed to let it cool and refill it. It also had a pressure relief safety valve on top that was supposed to allow steam to escape if the pressure ever got too high. For some reason that pressure safety valve failed, and when that happened and the pressure actually did get too high, the only place for that pressure to go was right through the glass eye. And when that eye exploded (my gun shot sound) the stream of hot water/steam hit the base of my skull, making me think I had been shot. The blood I felt at the base of my skull was that now warm liquid. I can laugh about it now, but at the moment it happened it was one of the most frightening things I had ever been through.
Had the pressure relief valve not failed, the steam cleaner would never have exploded. But when pressure builds and has no outlet, no relief, horrible things happen.
In Genesis 2:2 the most amazing thing happened. The Bible says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” The omnipotent God, who did not actually need any rest, rested. He did so to set an example for us to follow. He actually made a law for his people Israel to follow that they must rest for a full day each week. He carried that principle all the way through to New Testament times, telling his disciples in Mark 6:31 to “come apart and rest a while.” And all of us ignore that at our own peril; when the pressure builds in a person and has no outlet, the coming explosion is just as certain as it was in my steam cleaner.
I am the world’s worst at abiding by that principle, as demonstrated by the irony of me writing this column during a few precious hours “off.” But some things came up this week that necessitated it, and I do not mind. I do, though, see the effects in myself and others who work too many hours with too little leisure. And while necessity is often the case, sometimes what it boils down to is something much more sinister: pride. We simply come to believe that neither the Lord nor anyone else can do without us for a day, and that things will fall apart if we personally do not handle them.
But do you trust the Lord with your eternal soul? Then what makes you think you cannot trust him with much smaller things from day to day? Go get some rest; it is a great way to make sure that you, your marriage, your family, and everything else that matters does not explode.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Feature Photo By Bo Wagner)