I was in crisis.
Days before the start of the new school year, my daughter complained that her throat hurt, and then there was the fever, and the vomiting. I wanted God to heal her overnight, pronto, ASAP, immediately, snap-to-it—Amen!
‘Twas the night before school started and all through the house,
A fever was stirring–that dreaded louse.
The backpacks were placed on the counter with care
In hopes that the school year soon would be there.
The girls were all tucked in, warm in their beds
With dreams of pencils and crayons in their heads.
Except for one daughter whose throat hurt a lot
And whose forehead and body and feet were too hot.
So I began to throw a “holy tantrum,” which is anything but holy. It involves a little bit of stomping, some harumphing, and a whole lot of whining.
“Lord, seriously? Why is she going to miss the first days of school? Now I have to take her to the doctor and get a Strep test on an already busy day. She hates the antibiotic and always spits it out . . .whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.”
Yes, it’s my go-to flesh reaction to life’s annoyances and there I was once again at 5 a.m. throwing a tantrum.
And I threw another tantrum when, after a doctor’s appointment, a visit to the pharmacist, and a fight with my daughter over the antibiotic, my husband noticed that my toddler had hurt her ear. “She needs to go to the doctor.”
My fatigue was moving around my soul like a spotlight, ushering the weakest and ugliest cast members of my heart onto the stage for all to see.
I whined to myself: “I was just at the doctor’s. This is not the week to move into the medical office building. Why couldn’t we have noticed this the day before, God? Don’t You understand the power of multi-tasking and appropriate calendar management?”
Of course it’s no surprise that when I myself began to struggle when swallowing, I whined yet again.
This week has been one topsy-turvy event after another. Nothing going as planned. No day’s schedule left untouched. No moment when we are all well.
But when you’ve whined for days to God . . . eventually you grow quiet. You’ve plead your case. There’s a moment when you’ve said all you had to say and you expect God to answer for Himself.
He prompted my heart:
Is it really worth all this, Heather? When she’s 40 years old, will Lauren’s life be destroyed because she missed the first few days of first grade?
Is it really so terrible if your days don’t go as expected? Aren’t I always in control?
What about the moms whose children are chronically ill? You are whining over Strep throat. Some moms cry in the night over cancer.
You are sick in the short-term. For a few days, it’s hard to care for your family, but a few doses of antibiotics will restore you. What about the moms who face chemo treatments week after week, or who have MS or fibromyalgia and endure chronic pain and fatigue?
When I declare “It’s dinner time,” and my kids are in the middle of a game or I turn off the TV so they can finish homework or practice piano, sometimes my children whine. (I wonder where they get that from!) It’s one of my mom-speeches, quoting at them “do everything without complaining and arguing” (Phil. 2:14 NLT).
Don’t just obey; obey with a cheerful heart. Trust your mom. Be grateful for what you have and compassionate for those who have not.
Can’t God say the same to me?
Multiple trips to the doctor’s office? Convincing children to take yucky pink medicine? Becoming a “frequent flyer” at the pharmacy counter? Trading in productivity and accomplishment for a cup of hot tea and oatmeal that feels too thick to swallow?
It all may seem like a crisis in the moment, and maybe we deal with our burdens begrudgingly.
But God is far more interested in our heart condition than in the accomplishments of our day or the success of our plans.
Are you obeying with the right attitude—without grumbling about it? (Philippians 2:14)
Are you not just a giver, but a cheerful one? (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Are you doing more than enduring; are you rejoicing in all things? (Philippians 4:4)
Are you going through the motions of loving others, or are you really loving them? (Romans 12:9)
This is God’s concern. We can do what He asks of us and still get it all wrong. We can take care of our families and work hard at our jobs and tend to every ministry need and still miss it completely.
He wants us to follow, serve, and obey with a trusting, cheerful, peaceful, loving, rejoicing heart. He wants us to have a heart like His.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King