This story is for the time I was convicted. No, not by the law for a crime I may or may not have committed, but by Jesus Christ himself. It was the summer of a hot July when I moved to a little town in Iowa; I sure was a long way from home. Florida had always been what I called home before I had to up and leave it all behind, but that cheerless story is for another time.
Growing up in the south and being a privileged white-girl turned into an awakening I had never had before. An awakening only the Holy Ghost can give to us, spirit conviction. Moving to Iowa was not half bad after I realized I could stay with my uncle whom I had never really known before. You may question why I wanted to stay with a man I barely even knew, and quite frankly I often wondered that myself. You see, when Jesus places things in our path he doesn’t always make them quite known to the naked eye, which leaves us room to discover what he has in store for us.
Old-fashioned is an understatement for my family. So, at the time staying with my uncle was the best privilege I had, and I made the most of it. Walking into the house the first thing you smelt was old wood and molded-water pipes. The type of house where the floor creeks and the windows squeak that nearly scare you half-to-death if you were not expecting it. July had never seemed hotter until nightfall came and I was sleeping on the floor in a house with no air-conditioning: I guess that all falls back to the privileged part.
For the first couple of days, I was terrified, alone with a black man I barely knew, in an old-timey house miles away from the family and friends I had ever known. In those first few nights, I slept with a box in front of the door and a BB-gun beside me. As if a BB-gun could really do much damage to someone, but it was the only thing I had to “protect myself,” I confirmed. After being settled in I knew staying with my uncle turned out to be a blessing, not a curse after all. In reality, he is a hall-of-fame, old-school, sentimental man; and Jesus had placed me there for a marvelous reason.
Jesus works in mysterious ways that no one can ever predict, or even fully comprehend at times. This is why I knew I had been there for a purpose; to help shine some light on a dark situation. It had caught my attention earlier on that my uncle was a bit “scatter-brained” as my mother would say, but I had never known him before to make such an assumption. Ever since I was a small child personality always stuck out to me in a particular way and his struck me like a bolt of lightning with curiosity. Turns out, this man suffers manic-bipolar disorder and I had caught him in an episode, just in the time I came to stay. According to HelpGuide.org, “Bipolar disorder causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior” these symptoms had explained this man in the most excellent way possible.
Every morning my uncle and I would start the day by leaving the house at six-thirty for breakfast. We attended the same little diner, except for the mornings when I was persistent on Chick-Fil-A. Although, most of the time we went to Perkins; the tiny diner where the same few ladies served us each morning. I typically ordered the same thing every time; blueberry or banana pancakes. Something about the smell of sticky, sweet syrup on perfectly neat pancakes always brightened up my morning and sent me off for the day. After breakfast, we had at least three to four errands to run before my uncle would drop me back at the house. I do not mean we as in I had errands to run, but that he needed someone to tag along for the day, and I stepped up to home plate. Afternoons were usually when I picked-up on my bible-studies where I could sit on the back porch and read alone. At first, I did not think too much of the fact that when my uncle returned he always had a car full of “clearance” items. Room after room begun to fill with these random and useless items, until the garage became the next target. Taking a step back for a moment I could finally see this man was not well at all.
Day by day I prayed my uncle’s sickness to flee away, but it only got worse. This man is not “crazy” nor had he “lost his marbles,” after all, but he is just lonely. His soul is like a man stranded in the desert searching for a drop of water. Always on the go and never took more than a few hours to sleep, started to seem a bit alarming. The thing is, he is on the run in search of something already placed in front of him; Jesus.
Trying to fill a void without filling it with Jesus is useless because all other feelings of fullness are only temporary. Without Jesus, we are as a balloon with a small leak in which we just keep blowing up. Jesus is the patch which stops the leak completely. The name alone of Jesus is great things; power, breathe, and living water. What more can one need in this wicked-world? Us humans tend to confuse the realities of need and want. A need is required, and maybe even something or someone we cannot live without. A want is our desires or things we wish for, but we do not necessarily need. In this effect my uncle needs Jesus, but he would rather argue with Wal-Mart managers at midnight about why something is on the “clearance” table when it was never truly marked clearance; trying to meet his needs with wants. We all need Jesus, but if we do not want him how can we ever receive him? It is often hard to share something needed with someone who does not want. All the times we need medicine when we are sick, but we do not want it because we know it does not taste like our favorite flavor ice-cream that we love. My uncle knows deep-down he is in search of something; he just does not comprehend the difference between the two yet.
One weekend my uncle decided to go out-of-town for a couple of days, and asked me to stop in time-to-time and check on his house and water the plants; being as I had already moved into my own apartment for college. Of course, I said yes because I know how much little things mean to him. Walking in I could not believe how much he had concocted since my last visit, I prayed to Jesus “I want to help, give me something, anything and I will do your works please, I do not want this man committed” I pleaded. After a long silence, Jesus broke through and poured out my conviction.
“Clean his house” Jesus had demanded. For three days I cleaned his house from top to bottom and organized everything how I imagined in my mind a house should be. Considering I have never owned a house before I did the best of my abilities with some help from my father. As I was cleaning, some things from my childhood started to make sense like; why I had to get down on the floor and clean “behind the toilet” and why I had to “take everything out of the refrigerator and wipe it off,” piece by piece I knew my mother had instilled great quirks in my childhood. Not everything made sense, and I even questioned “are you sure?” but Jesus was persistent with my conviction. In-time, I knew just why Jesus had asked me to do such a thing and why I was considerably good at it.
Looking at the ending result sunshine lit my face, knowing Jesus asked me to do something so genuine. Although everything was in its right place so I thought, I knew my uncle would not feel the same. In his mind, all the scattered stuff around the house was “right where I left it” he assured. This is why I made the point to label each item and added a Holy Bible verse along. Walking-in all you smelt was 409 and Febreze. One last good look before I left was the sight of pink sticky-notes posted all around the house. I knew my work was done when there was a verse on each and every cabinet and door. Later that night I received a text from my uncle telling me how much he loved what I had done with the place and I could finally get some rest. When Jesus had convicted me I had thought cleaning my uncle’s house would fix all the problems in his mind and he could finally rest himself.
The point was never truly the clean house, but the good deed on the behalf of Jesus instead. I should have known considering two days later the house was back to the way it had been before, yet I would do it all over again if I was asked to. My conviction turned a great family member my way, and a peace in my heart. As Acts 20:35 states “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” and that it was.