It was Sunday afternoon. The stress had been mounting. Then the pain started…and Jimmy’s back went out. This hasn’t happened in the past four years, but when it happens it is horrible! When his back goes out Jimmy can’t do anything without pain. Sitting causes pain. Standing causes pain. Laying down causes pain. Reclining in his chair causes pain. Going to the bathroom…well you get the picture.
As a result, I was put in charge of leading youth last night. Trust managing twenty-five teens virtually on your own is not at the top of my “Fun Things to Do” list. Truth be told, I got so stressed out about it that I felt physically ill by the time 7:00 rolled around, and I had a bad attitude about it all afternoon. I wished that two of our most experienced college helpers weren’t out of town for a funeral. I wished Jimmy was well enough to go with me. I wished that the adult who sometimes fills in for us didn’t have to be in prayer meeting last night. In short, I was really selfish and whiny about the whole situation.
Then God got my attention. He brought to my mind one of the verses I memorized a long, long time ago. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” (Phil. 2:14-16) Okay, God. I get it. I feel convicted. I have been doing exactly what this verse tells me not to do. Plus, my attitude is keeping me from being a shining light, a representation of You, to the people around me. All they see is a grouch with a frown on her face. If they knew I was a Christian I am sure that they wouldn’t want to be one! What a shame.
But God didn’t stop there…
After convicting my sinful attitude and actions, God reminded me of another memory verse. “And me know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified he also glorified.” (Rom. 8:28-20) I couldn’t believe it! God took the time to encourage me and to remind me of His promises even though I had messed up! Even if we don’t get to go to the Cardinals’ sluggie game on Friday or go on our anniversary trip to see our friends in Arkansas, God has it all under control and He is working it together for good. Why? He predestined it! It is our destiny. God knows the beginning, middle, and end or our story. Nothing escapes Him. He has called us through it and justified us in it. In the end, He will get all the glory from the good outcome He will bring to us. Yes, we may not see the good that will come from these momentary troubles until many years later, but rest assured…God ALWAYS keeps His promises.
So when life throws you a curve, STOP complaining and START looking forward to the good that will come!