I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. ~ John 12:24
Have you ever had one of those weeks when you feel like you’re being tested? When things don’t even come close to going as planned and disappointment, discouragement and even anger become your unwanted new best friend?
This has been one of those weeks for me. I’ve had several disappointments, hurts and downright difficult people to deal with.
Last weekend I came down with a severe infection and had to be quarantined to the couch for three days. Let me remind you that last weekend was Easter and I had plans. Plans I was looking forward to. But instead of seeing family, friends and everybodys’ new Easter outfit, I laid on the couch in misery and despair. I did scroll through Facebook a few times, but that only made things worse. It wasn’t fair that I couldn’t enjoy Easter. So I threw myself a little pity party.
The other day, my daughter, Elise, was supposed to come home to visit my aunt from New York who is staying with my parents for a few weeks. Elise texted me that morning and said she wasn’t going to be able to make it due to the numerous papers she had due. I know she couldn’t help it, but I was still disappointed. So I went to see my aunt by myself.
Then, the final exam came this morning as I read a nasty e-mail from a client, throwing me into a tailspin. I was so angry I wanted to blast back with an e-mail that would set him straight. So I called my husband and had a loud tirade about it with him.
These are all things I struggle to “go with the flow” in my life. I’m a first-born, type A, perfectionist, committed, I’m always right kind of person. I not only don’t bend with my circumstances, I usually break when things don’t go my way. Ask my husband, the laid back baby of the family. He’s always telling me it’s no big deal if things don’t happen the way I expect. But it’s a big deal to me. Over the years, though, God has humbled me to the point I know I’m not really always right and things can’t always be perfect.
But last Saturday as I lay there burning up with fever, I decided to just accept it. I’d already prayed for God to make me well and He didn’t. But he did provide a good doctor on call who knew enough to give me the right prescription. Even though I’d miss all of the Easter festivities, I knew things could be worse.
Just this morning as I was leaving the gym, I met a lady whose mother had passed away last Sunday. Although she declared there was no better day for her mother to meet Jesus than on resurrection Sunday, I could see her wince as she spoke.
I still have my mother. What a way to put things in perspective.
Then yesterday while I was at Mom and Dad’s, I got to enjoy seeing my aunt and uncle as well as my brother and sister who came by to visit. We had a wonderful dinner together and I left there grateful for the fellowship I enjoy with a loving family.
And today, as I struggled to stop shaking from the anger broiling inside of me toward my client, I prayed and asked God how He wanted me to handle this. I felt led to call a level-headed good friend who works in human resources. She gave me the advice I needed; act like someone who is in control and don’t let him bring me down to his level. Boy, THAT was hard! But I didn’t overreact and handled the situation in a professional manner.
I mention all of this to say God is teaching me the world isn’t about me. It’s about Him, and how I represent Him to others. I can hold a grudge and become bitter, but that only makes Satan jump up and down with glee and he wins. When I picture that, my resolve grows. I don’t want Satan to get a foothold in my life.
It’s hard for me to die to the things I want to say or the plans I’ve made, but that’s exactly what God is asking me to do. He knows in order for me to be a fruitful Christian, I must learn to let the Holy Spirit take control. It’s not easy changing our natural personality into the person God has called us to be, but I know it’s worth the effort. I want Him to be pleased with how I handle those unexpected situations. And so, every day when I get out of bed, I need to remember to forget about my desires, pick up my cross and follow Him. After all, He’s the only One who knows the way.
Have you been experiencing any trials lately, making you feel as if you’re being tested?