Ever taken a little one to the grocery store? Sweet Pea skips up and down the aisles as everything moves along at a pace that’s pleasing to her. As you approach the cereal aisle, Sweet Pea sees her favorite character on a box of some chocolate business they’re trying to pass off as cereal. The begging ensues. At first, you ignore it, but after several more asks you put your foot down and say no as nicely and calmly as possible. Your little angel suddenly flails to the ground in a fit of screaming, you think you hear your precious angel get possessed, and you momentarily contemplate calling for an exorcist over the loudspeaker. In an effort to maintain composure, you look at Sweet Pea and in the calmest voice you can muster you say: “When you are finished with your fit, come see me – I will be on the next aisle.”
Obviously you aren’t leaving the store. You aren’t trying to go to jail. You’re just walking away from the chaos that precious little Sweet Pea has created (over a box of cereal no less). You are drawing your line. You’re setting boundaries. (Good job, momma!) But most importantly, you’re saying, “I know what is best for you Sweet Pea, and that chocolate garbage ain’t it! I want you to be healthy. I want you feel good, alive, and ready for anything. You can’t do that full of nonsense – I know it looks good on the outside, but I know what’s in it and it isn’t good for you. Trust me. I love you.” Then, you walk on over to aisle 7 and pick out a nice bottle of cabernet because you’re gonna need it after this! Eventually, Sweet Pea realizes you’re not the devil and come waddling over wiping snot from her nose and tears from her red eyes. She hugs your leg and you grab your bottle of wine, take Sweat Pea’s hand, and together you complete the shopping.
Recently, I was the little Sweet Pea flailing about on aisle 6. Not literally, of course. (Oh gosh – could you imagine a grown woman having an epic tantrum in the grocery store? Hahahahahaha!)
I was MAD at God. I was angry that He called me to something that turned out to be really awful and hard. I was furious with Him for not taking away the pain of the challenges we face day in and day out after we said yes to His calling. I shook my fist at Him and told He wasn’t as loving as I needed. I yelled at Him to fix the mess He created. I threw an epic spiritual tantrum. And when God didn’t respond, I yelled and gnashed my teeth at Him some more.
It was not one of my finer moments.
I was complaining to my husband about the mess I was feeling one day and asked what to do. His response was a 4-letter word and it really ticked me off … PRAY. Really? You want me to …. pray … to the God who put me in this mess? “Have fun with that and let me know how it turns out – God and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms right now,” I replied. It was true. I wasn’t talking to Him anymore and I was certain He was giving me the silent treatment, too.
No matter how long you’ve had faith, there will always be moments where you feel like God is silent, like he’s ignoring you. (Meltdown, optional.) He did create the universe, and His son died for us, so He basically has the right to do whatever He wants to us. But instead, He says: “I know what is best for you. I want you to be healthy. I want you feel good, alive, and ready for anything. You can’t do that this way – your way looks good on the outside, but I know what’s going to come of it and it isn’t good for you. Trust me. I love you.”
He calmly and quietly steps over and patiently waits for us to catch up. It may take us some time. And that’s ok with Him, because He’s going to be there waiting until you’re ready. Then, He’ll take your hand and walk down the next row with you. Because that’s what a good parent does.