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Dr. James L. Snyder
THE PARSONAGE—This past week was one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. I got everything completed, as well as some overdue projects.
There’s no feeling quite like the feeling of having accomplished your goals for the week. As far as I was concerned, this called for an Apple fritter celebration. Just keep this between us and don’t let you-know-who hear.
Driving home from my office, I was whistling and just enjoying myself while I was nibbling on my Apple fritter. My goal was to get it finished before I got home, and because of the week I was having, I finished that goal as well.
When I walked into the house, I was met by the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, and I noticed a rather serious look on her face. I thought maybe she had a bad day, and I was not going to let her bad day influence my good day.
So I said, “Hello, my dear. How has your day been?”
I wanted to tell her how my day had been and how excited I was to complete all my projects. I was excited, but that excitement kind of went south.
“What have you been up to?” She said as serious as I’ve ever heard her.
I have heard this kind of question before. And it's very important how you answer that question. You might tell something they don't know, and that will get you into more trouble. My job is to find out what they think they know and hide what they don't know.
As you can see, I'm a veteran husband, and I did not know what was coming my way.
She then repeated herself, “What have you been up to lately?”
At this point, I was a little worried because I could see there was something very serious she was talking about. I didn't quite know how to take the next step because I didn't know how serious the situation was from her point of view.
Of course, I wanted to make sure that I didn't spill any beans that she didn't know about at the time. I wouldn't have known what they were either, but that's a different story.
“Listen to this phone message.”
She picked up the phone, pressed the button and I heard the message.
"This is a Social Security Officer letting you know that a warrant for your arrest has been established. They will be at your home tomorrow around 4 o'clock to facilitate the warrant unless you call this number."
I was speechless, which is not unusual for me. Then my wife said, “Do you want to tell me what this is all about?”
It’s not enough that I’m in trouble with a Social Security Officer, but I’m also in trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. To be truthful about this, I’d rather be in trouble with a Social Security Officer. But I have to take my trouble one step at a time.
I did not know what to say to my wife. I never heard of a Social Security Officer or what they do. Why would the Social Security come after me? I’m certainly not going to call that number.
“Are you keeping something from me?” My wife queried.
I did not know how to answer because I have never found how to keep anything from her as long as I have been married. She knows what I'm doing three weeks before I'm actually doing it. How could I keep anything from her?
Certainly, I can keep things away from me. So when I do something, I forget about it and have to be reminded that I did it. But as for keeping secrets, that is not one of my strong suits.
“If you’re in trouble,” my wife said in a very sympathetic voice, “we can get through this together.
At that point, I only wished I knew some trouble that I could talk about that we could work through together. The problem was, my week had been so wonderful, and everything that needed to be done, I was able to do it.
Trouble? I can’t think about any trouble that would necessitate a Social Security Officer to come and arrest me.
We sat in the living room and tried to figure out what kind of trouble would necessitate an arrest warrant. We couldn't come up with anything. And believe me, if my wife can't come up with the definition of trouble, it just doesn't exist.
Believe me, the next afternoon, we were very nervous, not knowing what to do. But the afternoon led into the evening, and then we went to bed.
That was four weeks ago. I have not received any more phone calls. No Social Security Officer has shown up at my door with a warrant for my arrest.
As it turns out, those four weeks of nervous anticipation were a complete waste. As far as we can understand, it must've been a scam to rattle our cage. We were careful for nothing at all.
The other night as I was thinking of this, a verse of Scripture came to mind. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18).
I have a choice that I can surrender my fear for love. That love that only God can give.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-216-3025 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.