I always felt like less of a believer around him. I would read the Bible, maybe mutter a few incoherent requests to God, and then go my way and hope for the best. This fellow had a direct line to the Almighty. Life was going to be much easier for him. What a lucky guy.
One day he wanted to buy a new car. He fasted. He prayed. He meditated on the Divine Will, and the Divine Will made His car-buying preferences clear to him. "Go and buyeth this car, for it will go well, for you and your family. Listen to the word of the Lord".
My friend went right out, in full obedience, and bought this car. It was an AMC Gremlin.
For those of you who are too young to know about the Gremlin, or were too deeply traumatized by it, this thing routinely makes everyone's "Ten Worst Cars of All Time". It was butt-ugly, unreliable, and dangerous, like a Ford Pinto without any of its endearing qualities.
This brought about a theological crisis for me, the Crisis of the Sacred Gremlin. "Does God favor butt-ugly cars? Did He want to punish this guy for his spiritual presumption? Does He have a weird sense of humor? Was He turning to Michael and Gabriel and saying 'Get a load of this. Watch what happens when he tries to start this car up. He's only had it for two weeks.'"
After careful deliberation this is what I concluded: my friend was full of crap. He vainly interpreted every one of his whims and fancies as being Divinely Inspired. He probably didn't even take advantage of those God-given safety valves know as friends to advise him when he was in unchartered territory. He was a fool.
To this day whenever someone says he is doing the will of God, I always wonder if it is true or if he is following the will of the Sacred Gremlin.
"So," says the Very Wise Professor, "you are sentenced to live your life with detached irony, then? Never willing to step out in faith? Never willing to take the chance that what you believe actually might be God's will for you?"
The timing of this conversation was interesting. It was about 12 hours before I shared with him our plans for adoption.
It was pretty discouraging this week. We had thought we might realistically make the trip to the Ukraine by June. Now we are told, because of Federal footdragging, that September is more likely. Bummer.
I needed a pep talk, so I went to our church's internet portal and found the video blurb on adoption. It is linked above. I thought it was well done. It rings very true. And that is assurance enough for me. For now.