How a Bag of Dog Food Exposed My Pride

Years ago I walked into a pet store with one of my daughters to buy dog food. The guy at the cash register saw us walk in, and immediately his face lit up: “Are you Wayne Stiles?” Completely surprised, I answered: “Yes.”

How a Bag of Dog Food Exposed My Pride

(Photo by Photodune)

I confess my mind immediately chased the reasons he might know who I was:

  • Maybe he heard me speak before.
  • Maybe he’s read something I’ve written.
  • Maybe he attends our church.
  • Maybe . . .

All this shot through my mind in an instant. Yet after I answered, “Yes,” he revealed how he new my name.

“You need to call home; your wife just called.”

It turns out, he recognized me because Cathy told him I’d have a five-year-old daughter with me! It had nothing to do with anything I said, wrote, or did.

You know what bothered me most about this event?

I innocently come to buy dog food . . . and God takes the opportunity to expose my pride.

Let’s Be Honest

Doesn’t your heart jump when someone comes to you and says, “Hey, I heard something good about you today.” If we can contain our elation, we’ll casually answer like it’s no big deal. But inside? We’re dying to know the details.

We know the humility we ought to have, and we can fake it on occasion.

But other times, God catches us off-guard.

Say Cheese

It’s like when someone snaps a photo of us that isn’t at all flattering. We can’t deny the photo shows reality. It’s just not our best side.

You know who takes these pictures most often in our lives?

God.

  • God follows you in when you buy dog food.
  • The Lord finds you in the supermarket.
  • He especially tailgates you on the highway.

God uses these moments not to shame us or embarrass us, but to reveal to us the pride we cannot see.

Shocker Snapshots and My Pride

Believe me, the dog food day wasn’t the only time the Lord exposed my pride. On many other occasions He has peeled back my thick veneer to uncover self-confidence, self-importance, and the fear of man—just to name three.

God uses even dog food.

(Photo by MarkBuckawicki. Own work, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In these shocker moments of self-revelation, I felt tremendously desperate because these were involuntary sins.

  • Sins I intentionally commit I can also intentionally not commit.
  • But involuntary sins are on me like stink on skunk. It’s like trying to change the shape of my nose.

Desperation came from my inability to change myself. Even if I wanted to please God, I’d flop. The revealing snapshots showed me who I was.

My knee-jerk reaction, far too often, is pride. Know what I mean?

A Picture of Grace

When God reveals a weakness of yours, it can feel desperate because you realize you cannot change yourself.

But He can. Even better, He promises that He will.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. —Philippians 1:6

When God meets you in the dog food store, He brings His grace along. He offers the comfort that—although you are unable on your own to please Him—through Jesus Christ, God is already pleased with you. He sees you as righteous as His Son (2 Cor. 5:21).

Those dog food days of awkward revelation can turn into moments of immense gratitude.

His grace has you covered.

Tell me what you think: Where has God shown up and surprised you? To leave a comment, just click here.


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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.

• What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life he has given you?

If you find yourself waiting on God—or if you don’t know what God wants you to do next—this book offers a wise and practical guide to finding hope and peace in life’s difficult pauses.

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