From the kitchen I could hear the ear-piercing howl from an upstairs bedroom. I knew exactly who it was, but since he does that several times a day about nothing, I just waited for it to end. After a few minutes of this sound not subsiding I trudged upstairs to see what the problem was. My oldest was standing in front of her broken hearted little brother and I thought she had done something wrong, so I accusingly asked, "What happened?", she turned to me puzzled and shrugged. I sat down beside him and asked what was wrong. Through tears and howls I finally could make out what had happened to him... He had come upstairs to find that his Lego batman was missing an arm and that his baby brother had lost it. THANKFULLY, I knew exactly where to find that tiny little arm, because the day before, little baby brother had brought that prized Lego person down the stairs beaming with mischievous pride, sat down on the couch beside me and started pulling batman apart. I knew the devastation this would cause his 5 yr old brother so I took batman away and put him up before he could find out what happened, but I guess I forgot one important part... batman's tiny Lego arm. How can he be batman with just one arm?
You see in this house Legos are a big deal. Each boy has his own Lego sets and no one is allowed to play with those prized possessions unless given permission. Although we have tried to make baby brother happy with his own mix-matched pieces he still has his eye out for those cool sets of the big brother's, the ones he's not allowed to get his hands on. To one person in particular (the 5 year old) Lego is the main thing. He loves those little Lego people and the sets that his big brother has put together for him. He takes good care of his things and has an unusual attachment to these favorite toys. He will lose it on anyone who messes with his prized possessions. His hysterics this morning over those Legos are nothing new.
I know how he feels... I had just had a come to Jesus meeting in my closet minutes earlier where I expressed in prayer all my anger at life not being exactly the way I want it to be. We (including myself) have been sick this week with the stomach bug and even though I began my day with optimism, I quickly fell into despair when I faced the consequences of having been down for 3
days. My dining room table is piled with laundry, my kitchen is a wreck, my pantry is empty, trash cans are over-flowing, and there's school to be done. Sitting down with my kindergartener for school quickly threw me into a tailspin, when his perfectionism wouldn't allow him to make a mistake or to not know everything all at once, in the middle of this drama, my oldest son comes in complaining of being hungry and finds nothing to easily satisfy him. Just like my 5 yr old searching for that missing Lego arm, I lose it and run crying to the closet, feeling overwhelmed with my crazy life. Broken and defeated I get down on my knees and begin to complain about this heavy burden that I can't carry. I unload on the Lord all the ways that I'm failing at life and how he really had no business entrusting me with all of this... especially if my life is going to be less than perfect. Doesn't He know that if I'm going to home-school my children I need to have an ideal situation. If I'm going to teach them anything, then maybe I shouldn't have all these distractions all the time?!?!?! Doesn't the Lord know how important education is?
I just finished the book "Reason For God" by Timothy Keller yesterday and one of the things that really spoke to my heart was his explanation of the 1st command. You shall have no other gods before me. I always thought that God was like a dictator who demanded me to love him. How could He just demand that I love him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Isn't that impossible, to make someone love you? Timothy Keller explained that God designed creation for man as a gift, and then created man and placed him in the middle of creation, with everything he would need and his ultimate need being met in the relationship he would have with his creator. When man was God-centered he was happy and fulfilled... satisfied. The minute that man turned into himself and looked around to be satisfied he became completely unsatisfied. God alone could satisfy man. When we have idols (even good things like family, children, homeschooling) those things are in the place of God. These things are wholly unable to satisfy us, they make terrible gods. Only the infinite, never changing, complete wholeness of God can satisfy our souls. When we place anything in his place and those things are threatened we become frantic and anxious.
For example if being a good mom is your idol you will be devastated if that is threatened. If one of your children rebel you will lose all sense of self, because your identity was in your idol (being a good mom). If you idol is having a the life you envisioned (like myself) you will be completely undone when that perfection is threatened. These things can't fulfill.
When God created man he wanted us to be whole, complete, and fulfilled, but ONLY HE can fulfill us. When He says have no other god's beside me it is for our good. Putting our happiness on something like a Lego arm is so destructive for us because if we lose that tiny arm, we lose everything. What a sad truth. As I sat in the floor of my closet crying, the Spirit of God whispered to me, "Angela, you wanted me to show you your idols." In that little moment I realized just how easy it was for me to construct these little earthen idols. I look at the Ancient Egyptians that we are studying in school and scoff at them for their many gods, but I am no different with my small little idols that could never be worthy of my worship. I thought of all the little things this morning that had made me angry and one by one I saw how I had made them idols. Being a good mom, having a clean house, order, routine, clean laundry, smart kids, healthy food... all these things had the power to make me momentarily happy or sad. All of them were good things, worthy things, but terrible gods. I was able to see how important is was to daily cast down those idols. Daily. Those little statues can be constructed so quickly, without us realizing how they have moved up into the place of God.
You shall have no other gods... The command from the One who alone can satisfy us. If God is my exceeding great reward then all these little things can't bring me down... If God is my IDOL, then I can't be moved. If He alone is on the throne of my heart I will always be satisfied because He is all I need. How about you this morning??? Do you have idols to cast down?