One afternoon I looked out my office window and I saw him marching up 4th Street with his baton in hand. No clothes, just a baton. Naked as the day he was born. A high-stepping, head held high, strutting, naked, drum major without a band. Not even any shoes. Strutting up the center lane toward uptown Charlotte, he marched with a confidence that even a fully clothed man would lack. He marched without caring that traffic was backed up. He marched, leading his imaginary naked band in an imaginary naked rendition of a naked marching tune. Lewis Grizzard once said that “naked” was when you did not have any clothes on and “neked” was when you did not have any clothes on and were up to something. This man was up to something and the police agreed. He was arrested, but not before he marched past the police headquarters, the courthouse, the County Office Building, the City Office Building, City Hall, and all the way downtown into the heart of the banking capital of the Carolinas. I believe he was found to be intoxicated.
In one sense this was funny to watch. In another it was like watching a tragedy unfold. I knew how this was going to end and I knew that the end was not going to be good for the main actor, but I all I could do was watch. The naked man seemed oblivious to his surroundings and to the eventual outcome of his actions. He marched slowly and blissfully to his tragic end.
Is this the way God feels as he watches us? Is He amused and saddened at the same time? Are we the naked drum majors marching unaware? If we are, it is not God’s fault. God reaches out to us at every opportunity. The Holy Spirit offers guidance and discernment, and reveals God’s will to us. All we have to do is listen. So, why doesn’t God stop us when we don’t listen to Him? Why doesn’t God stop our naked march down life’s busy street? The answer is love.
God wants us to consciously and willfully choose Him. If we answer God’s knock on our door, He will be there for us. But, we have to answer that knock. If we choose to listen to God; to follow His direction, then He will lead us. If I choose not to listen, then God is not going to stop me from acting in a way that I should not act. He will not like the way I act. He will be saddened by the way I act, but He will not stop me. He will let me march naked by Him all the way to my tragic end, if that is what I choose. He lets me do this because he loves me. He would rather I reject Him freely than love Him robotically.
I do not know what happened to the naked drum major after he was arrested. He may have been taken to jail then released. He may have spent some time in a mental health facility. Hopefully his naked marching days are over.
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