Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Soul Food.

Each one of them had their own unique reaction to the food in the pot.  My 8 year old  laid out in the middle of the kitchen floor, hands over his tear-filled eyes, devastated because I made roast for dinner.  The 11 year old walked in picked up the lid, looked in, looked around to see if there was another option and then just walked out of the kitchen.  The 6 year old sat at the table whining and forcing a couple of spoonfuls in his mouth, knowing that if he made it through a couple bites he would be able to fill up on his usual before bed yogurt.  The 3 year old just looks in his bowl and says, "This looks bisgusting." 

Funny, Two hours before they had nothing but praise for me when I stopped at Sonic to surprise them with Ice Cream Sundaes.  Oh, yeah then it was all "you're the best mom ever". 

Maybe if it had just been one of them complaining I wouldn't have lost my cool.  I've never in my life cleaned a kitchen so fast.  I put up every bit of evidence that there had ever been food.  Slamming doors and dishes and hiding the pot of roast, where they wouldn't think to look for it.  Knowing full well those two ungrateful boys would come in starving in an hour, looking for the very thing they had disdained earlier.  Guess what...  Exactly one hour later, when all friends had gone in for the night, they bust through the door looking for... roast.  What they found instead was a spotless kitchen.  Kitchen CLOSED.  That's right!  Nothing. 

I've never seen more despondent children.  The man-child was hurting the most.  He knew there was no way he could make it til morning without food.  Did he apologize?  NO.  He just sat there with his private thoughts.  To full of pride to admit that he was wrong and sorry and hungry. 

I was angry with him...  but ready to forgive.  I didn't like the way he acted, but I didn't really want him to suffer.  I wanted to give him a good, nutritious dinner.  I always want to give him good things.  I love him. 

There are times that we must suffer.  There are times that we don't know how good we have it, until we lose it.  You don't know what you've got til it's gone.  
Well, Dad gave them a good lecture and told them they needed to apologize.  He reminded them that they should NEVER treat the person, who does everything for them like that.  And they did.  And ecause, I couldn't bear the thought of them going to bed without eating, I offered them that still warm roast. 

From the living room I could hear the sounds of contentment, of boys enjoying good food.  All the sudden, what looked terrible before was now amazing.  

I know you know where I'm going with this...  I am just like my kids.  Give me the "good" stuff Lord.  Make me happy.  Give me ice cream and candy, but you can keep the roast. 

My perspective of "good" stuff is skewed though.  Like my kids who think of junk food as good and roast as bad...  I think of the things that I want, as good.  I have no desire for things that might be good for me, if it looks anything like roast and carrots and potatoes. 

Food that will make me grow and become strong, has no value to me.  Take my new favorite verse for example:

"It is GOOD for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Affliction is suffering and we don't want that.  We want as far away from affliction as we can get, but maybe our perspective is all wrong.  David said it was GOOD that God had afflicted him. 

Look at Moses perspective "By faith Moses, when he came of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; CHOOSING rather to SUFFER affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. 

Moses left the riches and majesty and glory of being royalty in the Egyptian court, to be afflicted with the people of God. 

Paul, who suffered much for Jesus, wrote frequently in his letters to the churches about his sufferings had this to say, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, being made conformable unto his death." Phil 3:10

Paul knew that the only way he was going to be made more like Jesus was through suffering.  Every thing He once counted gain, he now counted as loss.  He knew that the only truly "good" thing in his life was JESUS. 

I'm not there.  I look in the pot and I look around, to see if there is a better option and then I walk out.  Sometimes, I throw myself down on the floor, put my hands over my tear-filled eyes and refuse to eat.  Sometimes, I just eat enough...  hoping that the little I've done will please God and he will then give me some dessert.  Sometimes, I flat out say, "This is bisgusting."

That's when I need an attitude adjustment.  My perspective needs a little altering... 

Jesus, in the garden, before his death, pleaded with God to allow this cup of suffering to pass from him and yet he said, "Not my will, but thine."  He understands that there are things you don't want to go through.  He's been there.  He endured "Good Friday" for us.  He drank from the cup of suffering for us.   He is our example...  Not my will, but thine.

Today, if you are suffering, believe it's for the good.  There is purpose in your pain.  Read your Bible.  Believe the promises that God is working ALL things for good.  Trust that Jesus has not forsaken you. 
Paul was sitting in jail, not knowing what was going to happen to him, singing praise to God.  The earth quakes and the chains break.   He could escape if he wanted to.  The jailor, who was in charge, thought that everyone had escaped and was ready to kill himself.  Paul calls out to him that everyone was there and accounted for and because of that act of surrender, to the sovereign will of God in his life, he was able to lead the jailor and all of his household to Christ.

Paul realized that wherever God had him, it was for the GLORY of God and the furtherance of the gospel...  The same is true for you today.  Whatever you are facing today.  Every storm, every trial, every hurt is all an opportunity to reveal Christ in your life. 

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