Voices of Recovery today quoted OA12&12 (p.91), “In OA we share a belief that we can each recover through a spiritual relationship with a power which is greater than ourselves alone.” “…Here in one sentence is the essence of our wonderful program.”

Proverbs 26:18-19, “Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’” This reminds me of my character defects of sarcasm and insensitive or hurtful humor, which are really just fancy words for my own angry folly trying to transfer my pain onto others. I learned that “sarcasm” comes from the Greek “sarkos” which means to tear flesh. I don’t want to tear anyone’s flesh, physical, spiritual, or emotional, any more than I want to shoot them with flaming arrow (“firebrands”).

I was challenged this morning by the faith of a prostitute in Jericho named Rahab, whose story is in Joshua 2. Believing all the stories she heard about the God of Israel, she put herself at risk from the king and his men to hide spies on a reconnaissance mission. She declared, “…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Because of her faith, she and her family were promised safety when Jericho was taken. I found an odd similarity between the lamb’s blood that marked the doorposts of Israel for Passover, and the scarlet chord with which she was to mark her window. My soul, too, has been marked with red, to set it apart from destruction. I tend too often to forget it and take my seal for granted. Today I am grateful! Lord, make me faithful. I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.

I wrote the above by seven this morning. By nine, I had made a hurtful joke about someone’s physical appearance. When I caught myself doing it, I sincerely apologized to the man, who forgave me quickly enough. But I continued to lament out loud how I had, just two hours before, committed not to make any hurtful statements like that. Another person in our hearing recommended that I write such commitments down. I quickly produced from my pocket the note page on which I had done just that, and the most amazing thing happened. As I explained that these were notes taken from my morning devotional study that I would later share with friends in an online journal and email, she asked me to read it to her if I was willing. She acted as though she had never heard of anyone so involved in a spiritual exercise, and it opened the door for me to share with this friend a mutual honor and respect for the Higher Power who makes this kind of practice worthwhile.

I attended a dramatic musical at my church tonight. It was a country style musical with drama from somewhere between a Jerry Springer episode and Swamp People, called “Back in the Boondocks.” It was amazingly well done, and reminded me that what I see is not the end. I never get to know what is beyond my obstacles until I get past them. It is the way of things. No one can be “good enough” to be spared bad things. Things happen, good and bad, to help shape us into the us we are supposed to be.