If you missed Sunday’s post on “Loving Other People,” you might want to read it before reading this one. However, today’s post will still make sense if you don’t.
I want to tell you a true story. While I doubt seriously that anyone from that part of my past life will see this, I’ll change the names just in case.
This happened during the mid-seventies in a small city in Maryland. I had started working in an office several months before and had established a routine that seemed to work for me.
Then Annie came to work at the same place, doing the same job I was doing. I patiently explained how I’d been doing things, aware that I would be grateful if someone had done that for me when I started there. But she seemed totally disinterested in my established routine. She was more interested in socializing with the office manager.
The two of them did have something important in common, and as time passed by, she had become his obvious favorite. She could do nothing wrong and–at times, anyhow–it seemed as if I could do nothing right.
What made this whole problem more complicated is the fact that Annie’s and my actual supervisor was a kindly fellow who wasn’t actually located in our office. But we were still under the office manager’s authority since it was his space we were using.
I knew that our job involved a certain amount of out-of-the-office contact with our clients, but the office manager wouldn’t approve of our going out. So I did the logical–and highly unfortunate–thing and asked our supervisor for his help.
He sent a message to the office manager reminding him that we needed to get out periodically. And the manager immediately came to me in a huff. “You’ve been talking to Henry, haven’t you?”
I couldn’t very well deny it.
So he said, “Fine. Annie will go out and you will stay in.” Talk about fairness…
My relationship with Annie was already bad enough. She had no respect for me whatsoever, and things continued to go downhill.
I did the only thing I could do. Something that went against everything I felt like doing. But what I felt God wanted me to do.
I started praying for Annie. Not that she would change. Not that I would learn to accept her ways. But simply that God would work in her life. Not easy when she was so brusque that she came in the men’s room one day to tell me I had a phone call!
Not long after that, they moved our desks upstairs, which was actually part of the area director’s domain. Annie and I had a big blowout argument that day and–would you believe it?–she and I became friends. Or as close to friends as dogs and cats are apt to become.
Definitely not the way I’d expected God to answer my prayer for Annie, but it was an answer nonetheless. And it’s something that continues to remind me to this day that I can learn to love the most unlovable of people if I make God part of the equation.
The central part.
Do you have someone who bugs the daylights out of you? Maybe it’s time to start praying for that person. But remember this. You’re not praying for that person to become wonderful, but for God to do whatever He chooses to in that person’s life.
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