He had come in early, as was his custom now. The silent, dark halls echoed as he walked to the elevator and pushed the button. No one ever came in this early, so he knew he’d be alone. The tomb-like silence of the empty office suite provided the perfect backdrop for his morning meetings with the Lord. This was where he could pour out his heart and talk honestly with God–and himself.
Sitting now at his solid mahogany desk, he turned his attention to the monthly task he had come to dread and asked himself again, “Why is this so hard?” Every muscle in his face was taut and his temples throbbed, as he wrote the check. He knew he was gripping the pen too tightly, but he didn’t want his hand to shake. Focusing with extreme determination, he filled in the amount, then slowly and carefully tore it out of the checkbook, and placed it on his desk, pressing it down with the palm of his hand. There, it was done, for another month, at least. Leaning his elbows on the massive desk, and folding his hands, a muscle in his jaw twitched. He couldn’t stand it any longer, and he let loose on himself. “What is the matter with you, man?! It’s just a check. It’s not like you can’t afford it!” Pushing himself away from the desk, he raised his 6’2″ frame and began pacing back and forth across the length of the office. Every now and then, he gazed out the bank of windows, where city lights lit up the predawn darkness. Muttering under his breath, he gave himself yet another tongue-lashing. “It’s the right thing to do. You know that. We’ve been all through this a million times,” he chided himself. “You’ve given your heart to the Lord. You’ve got to keep a clear conscience and show her and the kids that you’ve changed! Even though they’ve forgiven you, they’ve got to see that Christ has the power to change a person!” He sat back down, turning his thoughts as he had a thousand times before, to how it had all gone down in the end. They’d both been unfaithful in their own ways. They’d said and done stupid things. Immature, selfish, hurtful things. Thinking they had no other recourse, the papers were signed and it was done before either of them had stopped to think about the ramifications, what it would mean… She’d finally forgiven him, but… “I’ve forgiven her, haven’t I, Lord?” He sighed. Leaning back into the black leather sofa, he looked around his plush executive office, and thought about his life. Examining himself was new to him. But more and more, these morning talks with his Lord and Savior had been a catharsis for him. “I have. I know I have,” he answered his own question aloud. “Then, why am I so angry?” he thought to himself for the hundredth time. This morning, all the pent-up anger and frustration, guilt and desire, had exploded like Mount Vesuvius inside him.
Running his fingers through the shock of thick black hair, just a hint of gray beginning to appear at the temples, he sighed again. He was a man who was used to being in control. Professionally, he had always been able to handle any situation and had risen to the top of his field, fast. Physically, he was a specimen of perfection. Joe had taken care of himself, and it showed. Always one to watch his weight, he worked out, and ate right. His marriage was another story. God had used the breakup to get through to him. He had recognized for the first time that God cared about him. And cared about his actions. He knew he was no saint, but now he knew he was a sinner, and never could do enough to be good enough for a perfect and Holy God. It was humbling. But God had shown him that He had done what Joe couldn’t begin to, through Jesus’ death on the cross for him. He’d given Joe faith to believe in this risen Christ, and accept His forgiveness. Even though he wasn’t sure he liked this new feeling of Someone else being in control, since he had given Christ the reins of his life, he had been at peace for the first time. He was a new man. He knew he was forgiven and he knew God was with him. He’d made changes in his life. For one, he was determined to do right by Anne. No one could accuse him of not doing right by her and the kids. Punctual to a fault with his alimony checks, he even sent them early at holidays and birthdays. Still, he just couldn’t seem to shake these feelings.
He didn’t know what to do to stop being angry and bitter. “Lord, what do You want me to do? Haven’t I done everything a man could do? What more do You want from me, Lord?!!” As he cried out to God, involuntarily his eyes lifted up to the ceiling, as though seeing through to heaven’s domain. He didn’t know what he expected. But there, in the quietness of this plush office suite, he heard God say as clearly as if He were in the room, “Go the second mile.”
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