She grumped into the mini-van after school, plodding along, keeping her hands folded across her chest as much as possible. She was non-verbal, totally unresponsive to my cheerful queries about her day and her friends and her teacher. Slumping down as low as she could go in her seatbelt, her chin touched her chest, her eyes glared down at the floor.
I got the message. Bad day.
Slowly she explained with little bits of dialogue here and there, mostly in a whine, sometimes in anger.
“The cafeteria lady put baked fruit on my tray even when I told her I didn’t want it.”
Oh and her older sister tattled on her because she stood on the school’s grass at the end of the day instead of staying on the sidewalk.
What a day.
I found myself telling this Chicken Little of mine that the sky hadn’t fallen because of a tiny scoop of unwanted baked fruit and the world hadn’t ended because her sister ratted her out for straying onto the grass.
So, was it worth freaking out, crying, yelling, and ruining her Friday afternoon over this, just this?
Of course, it all did seem like a disaster to a six-year-old.
Just like an embarrassing mistake seemed like the end of the world to me yesterday. I was scatter-brained and forgetful and I was frustrated and angry with myself.
My husband said, “It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.”
Maybe that’s where my daughter gets it from, from me and how I fret so quickly over things I could just shake off my back if I chose.
Sometimes we’re fretting about the foolish things and the minor details. We worry over a mistake that’s done and over with and in the past already. We stress over hypotheticals and what if’s that never even happen. We toss and turn over situations that God’s already provided an answer for.
And it all seems foolish in hindsight.
But even when we’re not, even when it’s more than a six-year-old’s idea of “the end of the world,” even when it’s truly a crisis and we feel trapped and hopeless….even then we can breathe in and breathe out God’s grace.
Even then, we are not consumed.
That’s what Jeremiah wrote to the Jewish people when their city was destroyed by captors, and they had endured starvation and invasion and seen their best and brightest young people carried off into captivity in Babylon. Even then, he wrote:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Paul wrote it, too:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8
No stumbling block or obstacle is the hopeless end of the world it may seem. Whether it’s a true crisis or an annoyance of the moment, still God is with us and because of His love, grace, and faithfulness, we can breathe in and breathe out.
We can rest in Him.
We can let it go.
At Women of Faith last summer, Patsy Clairmont reminded us that Moses wasn’t drawn to the burning bush because it was on fire. Fires happened all the time in the heat of the desert sun.
Instead, he stepped away from his flock of sheep out of curiosity because “though the bush was on fire it did not burn up” (Exodus 3:2).
That’s our testimony also! God allows us to walk through the fire without being burned and it is that constant faith in His care that shows others His glory. It makes them turn aside out of curiosity and ask, “What does she have that helps her walk through these flames unscorched?”
How is it that we can move on after a hurt or show grace for a mistake? How is it that we can look at the budget on paper and not be in despair? How can we hear that news, accept that decision, face that tomorrow, wait what seems like forever without being thrown into crippling anxiety and overwhelming panic?
How can we stand in the middle of the fire and not be consumed?
It’s Jesus. It’s God with us. It’s His grace and His promise to care for us in all things whether big or small. It’s choosing joy and choosing to trust in Him that saves us from the flames.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King