A guy named David received a parrot for his birthday. The parrot was fully grown, with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive or rude. David tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of to try and set a good example.
Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird yelled back. He shook the bird and the bird just got more angry and more rude. Finally, in a moment of desperation, David put the parrot in the freezer.
For a few moments he heard the bird squawk and kick and scream. Then suddenly there was quiet. Not a sound for half a minute.
David was frightened that he might have hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto David's extended arm and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I will endeavor at once to correct my behavior. I really am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness."
David was astonished at the bird's change in attitude and was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change when the parrot continued, "May I ask what the chicken did?"
I was in line the other day at a store, already running a little behind and cutting the time I had to be somewhere really close. It was raining heavily and I knew that I would have to drive slower. Before I had even left my house I prayed for God’s hedge of protection around me as I traveled because the roads were slick and the rain was coming down hard. I had to make an unexpected stop and this stop was going to put me heading to my appointment in an opposite direction than normal. As I stood in line waiting and waiting I grew agitated. It was finally my turn in line and with a sour attitude, I handed my money over to the clerk. By sour attitude, I mean, I didn’t make eye contact, impatience was probably written all over my face and I was a little antsy. I try to always smile and say hello to each person I encounter each day, but today wasn't one of those days. As I was leaving the clerk smiled at me and said “Please drive safe out there” I instantly said “you too…OH! I mean, thank you”
The reason I said “you too” is because I was expecting the normal “have a good day” which produces the same “you too” response each time. Two things happened at that moment.
#1. It came to my attention how aggravated I was minutes before his concerned departing phrase and how silly my irritation really was. It wasn’t his fault there was a line a mile long and he was doing the best he could.
#2. It really touched me that this person who might not ever see me again was concerned enough about the weather that he wanted me to remain aware and careful so I would be safe.
So in a better mood; no longer concerned about being a little later than usual, I got in my car and thanked God for the reminder to “drive safe out there.” It also came to my attention that maybe my having to wait ordeal was God answering my prayer to “keep me safe while I was on the road" by keeping me from something unforeseen.
I found out later that God had answered my prayer. As I was closing in on my destination, I came across the aftermath of a horrible accident. The entire backside of this vehicle was strewn across the road and you could literally see the interior of this vehicle that had hydroplaned and collided with an oncoming vehicle. The accident had happened less than 10 minutes before I came up on it. The same amount of time I had to wait in line.
I prayed for the passengers of the accident and thanked God for hearing me and asked Him to forgive me of my earlier impatience. No one seemed majorly hurt and I was thankful for their safety.
My husband even knew I had to go that direction that morning and him being a firefighter, he has a radio that scans police and EMS activity so he heard the call. As I was pulling in to my destination my phone rang and it was my husband. I answered the phone saying “It wasn’t me.”
I read the above joke today and it reminded me of my situation. I think at times the Lord convicts us of our thoughts and actions in ways that get our attention. We can become so centered in self and need reminders that it really is not about us all the time. And I think now that I will just have to remember that if I need to wait a little longer than I want to, that maybe God wants me to wait for a reason....whatever that reason may be.
And He confirmed that truth for me when listening to the radio and a topic on waiting in long lines was being discussed. A caller said that she no longer gets irritated while waiting and instead sees it as a blessing in disguise because maybe the Lord wants to her wait for a reason. It really hit home.