who ever learned by kicking and screaming?

I ordered the Action Bible on CD for my kids and this past week we've been listening to it in the car. We love it. The narration is great and I love that we can listen together while we drive places. I do wish our CD player had a pause button though. I find myself having to hit the power button so we can talk when someone has a question or when Mom wants to further explain :)

I've been surprised how blessed I've been by the CDs! Its amazing how certain stories become just that, stories. I think about Creation. I know that story inside and out. But every time I re-read it, its amazing what new things I see and learn about God. I know all about Noah and the flood. But once again, certain parts stand out differently each time. For me this time it was Moses and the Israelites. I found myself driving to church yesterday with the kids {Daddy was already at church serving in Sunday School} and there I am at a red light, crying. I saw SO much of myself in those Israelites it broke my heart. To realize how many thousands of years God has literally listened to his people gripe, whine, complain, act like He doesn't notice or care, when every moment He is taking care of us, providing for us and giving us breath!
Ethan pointed out that the Israelites complained a lot because things weren't being worked out as they wanted them to. He said that they probably wanted God to just takt them from Egypt and dump them in the promise land, with no struggles or lessons along the way. No journey please. Wow. Hearing my 7 year old say that really got me. "No struggles please." How many times have  I said that to God? Ethan connected with that because its what he deals with too. He doesn't want the lesson, just the prize.
How many times do we insist to God that He pass us the hardships and pass up the learning to just give us what we don't deserve and bless us. What we fail to see, is that even through the hard parts He sends blessings. But because they're not wrapped up like we want them to be, we see some of His blessings as a curse.

Oh my goodness, friend, how much I do this! I pray and pray for something and then God answers {the way He choses} and because its not what I had planned out in my head, I can't see the glorious ways in which God is answering, teaching, helping, growing.
Why do we so often view a really, really hard trial as evil or punishment? Do you do that? I do.
Why do we decide its God's way of getting back at us? Like He's taking his anger out from Adam in the Garden to present day sins on US. Why do we really think its all about us ALL the time?
Its amazing how I can make every hard situation about me. What is God telling me? Why is God allowing this to happen to me? When will God make this trial go away from me?
Why don't I stop first and ask "What can I learn from this time of my life? In what ways can I see God working in me and through me in this dark time?" Or better yet "How can I bless others with what I'm learning about Jesus through this?"
Instead we so often navel gaze. We look inward instead of upward. We run to our own resources and not to the one resource God has promised will bring comfort and hope and promises to cling to. Its like we're in sinking sand and instead of grabbing onto the strong branch, we grab for pieces of garbage laying near us. "This will save me!" -And we find ourselves sinking faster and further to the bottom.

What really hits me is that our children see us do this. A friend asks, "where do our kids learn how to whine so perfectly?!" I tell her, "I'd never really thought of that before, but I'm pretty sure we're glaring examples of that too often." She told me that she doesn't often walk around the house whining in a a horrible sob or slamming her fist into the ground. No, we don't. Only because we've been alive a lot longer and have perfected the look of a huge bratty fit :)
Our kids see how often we don't run to God when things are a mess. They see how often mom picks up the phone to gripe to Daddy or a friend before they see her on her knees. A few weeks ago my 6 year old daughter {who recently learned how to read} saw my cell phone on the kitchen table. She noticed the message I had just sent to Jason "I'm having a really bad day - please pray for me." And she brought my phone to me and said. "Why didn't you pray for yourself, Mommy? How come you didn't tell this to God?" Um.... oops!
I told her I did pray, but I confessed to her that it was a quick, hurried demand that God get me OUT of this hard day I was having. Instead of really stopping and communing with my Father and telling Him my weaknesses and asking for more of His strength. There's such a big difference!

Back to the Israelites. Think of how many times they were free'd from a life of bondage and slavery. When we were listening to the story yesterday I had to remind my kids not to be too hard on them - our life struggles pale in comparison to theirs. Even our complaints about Government these days. It hasn't become Pharaoh just yet. I reminded Ethan to take the lesson from the story that God wants him to take. Even when we don't believe He will or can, God rescues us.
And that's what I really wanted my kids to grab hold of. Its not that we don't think God will. We tell ourselves that He can't. This is too big, even for God. The creator of heaven and earth will somehow forget us, who He loves so deeply. We're His creation. He's choosing to spend Eternity with many of us. Why would He not care where we live, what we eat, if we have money, clothes that fit, a car that runs or a means to get from here to there. A job, children, a spouse, good friends, etc... why do we think we've managed to stumble upon the one trial that God can't handle?
He can. He will. He is.

Sometimes I say out loud to myself, "Stop trying to play God, Stefanie. You stink at it."
My kids laugh when they hear me say it, but its true... and not very funny. I try so often and I fail every time. 

I have no idea what you're all going through. I won't pretend to know. But God knows. He knows that I was going to just write this in my personal journal and felt compelled to write it here and I'm confident He'll use even my poor words to speak to someone. God is amazing that way. He can take our attempts at trying and turn them into a beautiful message of comfort for someone else.
If you haven't read your Bible yet today or cried out to God, please do. Don't push it off.
Don't think you need a magical book, or a super spiritual conference, or a CD of the Bible in your car. Those things are all wonderful resources, but God has placed the best resource in your hand. Its at our fingertips minute-by-minute, we just chose not to use it.
We learn so much from the other resources because we actually carve out the time TO learn.
Go through the book of Exodus this month and write out each way God blessed and each way they complained and doubted. I did that once and I remember being shocked at how many blessings there were!
Give God a bit of your time today and see what He teaches you and how He blesses you.
I promise you won't regret it.

2 {comments}:

momofthree said...

Indeed God will use this blog entry. He just totally used it to convict me =). Thanks for sharing your heart.

Stef said...

you're welcome. Thank you, friend!


Blog Template by YummyLolly.com