I once heard someone say, "The Christian life wouldn't be so difficult if it weren't so daily!" 1 Thessalonian 5:16-18 tells us, "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Always? Continually? In ALL circumstances?
It is 8:00 Wednesday evening as I write this, and I should be at church. But here I sit at home instead. Guess this is a good time to do some blogging!
Okay, my last post was about the perfect love of God for His children. What could be more encouraging, more uplifting, than considering how great is our Father's love towards us? But twelve hours later, I'm discouraged, mopey, and on the verge of a full-scale pity party.
The red car broke down today - again - and is out of commission until further notice. It died four times while I was out running errands and taking Martha to piano lessons. Martha and I were laughing at the Farmers' Co-op, wondering what they would do if we couldn't get it started after we had backed it up to the loading dock. It didn't seem as funny when the car died the second time, just as I was turning into a parking space at Wal-Greens. When it died as I was driving down the street back to Mrs. Linda's, laughing was the last thing on my mind. After that, every intersection loomed like a potential disaster. Lord, please just get us home! I pleaded. He did, but I was not happy.
With only one working vehicle, someone had to stay home from church - we don't all fit in either of the cars, and it takes both cars to get the entire family somewhere. Well, two of the boys are sick, so I volunteered to stay home with them. That left only five people to cram into Steve's car for the drive to Union City. I figured I needed to stay home anyway, given the turn my mood was taking.
After the "church bus" left, I set about cleaning up the dinner dishes, a litany of complaints rising as I worked. I washed and rinsed cups and bowls, placing them in the dishwasher to dry. No, the dishwasher isn't working, either. It's been broken for over a year. (But, hey, it makes a dandy built-in drain rack.) We've lived in this house going on five years, and we still haven't built shelves in the closets or finished the window seats in the upstairs bedrooms! I drained the sink and straightened my stiff back. I am so tired of my back hurting, I smoldered, and this loose filling in my tooth is absolutely driving me nuts.
With the two boys flaked out asleep in the living room, I decided it must be my job to take the dogs for their evening walk. The thermometer said it was 98 degrees. In the shade. Yes, these are the two dogs that we no longer have - we got rid of them over two years ago, remember?, after our angry neighbor threw a hissy fit on the front porch. Just kidding!
I headed out with the dogs, and was sniveling like a two-year-old before I had crossed the first field. I am tired of hurting! I am tired of the car breaking down! I am tired of not being able to fix things that need fixing! The full-scale pity party was officially underway. Yes, I know that you love me, God, and that everything you bring into my life is for my good. But I am SO TIRED!
Funny thing about a long walk...it's hard to concentrate on feeling sorry for yourself when you're concentrating on not falling down a creek bank, not stepping on a snake, not going blind from the sweat in your eyes, not passing out from heat. By the time we had reached the farthest corner of the farm and turned back toward home, I had no more tears left to cry and was preoccupied with just breathing.
As we topped the hill beside the old pond - the big pond - I chuckled in surprise: there sat the bull, probably 20 feet out from shore, looming like a small black mountain in the midst of the scummy brown water!
Now, cows swimming in the pond is nothing new around here. They do it all the time. They sometimes even swim with my kids, in fact. But they usually swim in the small pond right behind the house. In fact, when I had left home with the dogs, several cows were out lolling about in the small pond, enjoying some relief from the scorching heat.
But the old pond, the big pond, is too wide and deep and murky for bovine swimming. Or so I had always assumed. But here sat Mr. Bull, all by his lonesome, basking in the cool murky slime. Not meandering about in the water like cows usually do - no, he had walked into the deeper water and plopped down. There he sat, completely immobile, his massive shoulders and head peeping above the surface like Bull Island. Even when I called to him, he sat motionless, lost in some summertime reverie.
He looked ridiculous.
He looked a lot like me. This heat is oppressive! I am so miserable! I can't take it any more! I'm sure that's what he was thinking, in his bullish kind of way. And so he had marched into the biggest, muckiest, scummiest hole he could find and sat down. Absolutely nothing was going to disturb his sulky soak in the slime.
Yes, I got the message. I walked the rest of the way home with the dogs, feeling a little bit silly and much less discouraged. A couple of ibuprofen, a cold shower, and a tall glass of lemonade later, I am quite revived. And I am reminded again that, although I fail repeatedly to obey the will of God revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God loves me...always, continually, in ALL circumstances. Not because I am faithful, but because He is faithful.
Pity party, pffft! What a lot of bull!
7 hours ago