If you are reading this on March 1 then you have just completed the first week of Lent. Perhaps you chose this Lenten season to practice a spiritual discipline with prayer, Bible reading, and/or fasting. Perhaps you are gaining great insights and are enjoying the disciplines and can already feel yourself being molded, shaped, and transformed, Or, perhaps you are in a time of struggle. If you’re like me chances are it’s a little bit of both, sometimes it’s good, sometimes less so.
John is a Christian author and tells about a time he was on a very crowded flight. When he received his seat assignment he was chagrined to learn he had a middle seat in a row of three. When he got to his row his chagrin turned to irritation when he finds out his companions are a mother holding a cranky 3-month old infant on the aisle seat so she can have easy access to the aisle, her young daughter by the window seat so she can look out, and her two boys in the seats right in front of them. ‘I hope you don’t mind the baby,’ the mother says as the baby continues crying.
As a matter of fact he did mind. He wished the baby was far away, on another row, on another flight. He did not think about the trial of a mother traveling alone with 3 small children and an infant. All he thought about was how this keeping him from accomplishing his agenda for the flight, writing a book to tell people all about how to live as Jesus would in their place.
So he sent out body-language signals that he was not open to communication. He was devoted to his laptop computer. But it was all to no avail. The little girl sitting next to him asked, “What are you doing?” “Writing,” he said. “What are you writing?” “A book.” “What’s the book about?”…Ouch!
James 1:2 says, ‘Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,’
Sometimes, we have an opportunity to laugh at ourselves when we see ourselves failing at a small trial, and we set aside our agenda (writing) and see an opportunity to serve someone with far greater needs, a mother traveling alone with 3 children and an infant. We discover an opportunity to practice patience graciously in a situation we don’t want to be in whether it’s on a plane, or waiting or listening to a neighbor talking incessantly about a subject we don’t care about.
As we go through this season of Lent and through life, it is important to remember not all of our challenges are tall mountains or broad chasms, sometimesit’s just a small trial, but in it we have an opportunity to grow and to show the love and grace we’ve been given, ‘to count it all joy’ even if that means laughing at ourselves.
God Bless, Donn
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