Today was no different as we celebrate my daughter Emma's 9th birthday.
So I don't know why I was surprised when my youngest daughter, Abbi, came running into my bedroom at 5am-- one and a half hours before I normally drag my tired hiney out of bed. She was so excited when she saw Emma's birthday present in the living room, a brand new, 4-story cage for her pet chinchilla Chili.
So you don't know what a chinchilla is? Its a South American rat. Big ears, squirrel like tail, red bug eyes, fur softer than you could possibly imagine, and the ability to poop his body weight every 30 minutes. Still can't picture it? Here is Chili the chinchilla.
So its some ungodly hour where I'm not certain that I'm a Christian; I've been awakened long before the alarms on my clock and phone- yes, I have to set two alarms DON'T JUDGE ME-- have gone off, and I stumble half asleep into the living room of my home where I see my daughters happily, and loudly playing with a white Mexican rat that is pooping all over my carpet.
I didn't get frustrated when Chili got free the first time. Jodi very calmly reached down and picked him up, instructing Emma that she was to pay attention so he wouldn't get loose in the house. Because everyone knows that it's next to impossible to corral a rodent that only responds to commands in the Spanish language.
But when my newly crowned 9 year old was distracted once again and Chili made a bolt for freedom like a East German taking a running leap at the Berlin Wall-- it began to get under my skin. Immediately the little rodent took a quick jump underneath his brand new cage. He then promptly began chewing on the curtains, because everyone knows that chinchillas love the taste of synthetic fabrics. He darted under the end table and then under Jodi's chair before I could get up from the couch. I'm quickly trying to engage my mind as to how to capture the escaping pet while Emma and Abbi increase the volume of their voices and the quickness of their movements. Jodi is helpless. She sits in her chair realizing that if she moves she could step on Chili and put a bow on the worst birthday and most useless present ever.
Luckily I had the forethought to put the dog out before the chase began, and then cornered the rat in the kitchen catching him and returning him to the cage.
Very angrily I slammed the wire metal door to the cage and huffed as I plopped back down on the couch. Emma simply responded... "well... ok."
Now I'm hacked. I'm just happy I didn't yell.
Doesn't she know that I'm tired?
Doesn't she know that I had a long day yesterday, and will have to work today?
Why couldn't she just pay attention?
Why couldn't she be responsible?
And then I took a deep breath.
And I looked at my girls.
And I was overcome with how much I love them.
And I felt a little bit like a tool for being put out.
Frankly, I'm put out a lot.
I don't like hassles, and too often I look at my girls, my family, my job, the people I serve, and life in general as hassles. I don't think I'm the only one, but that doesn't excuse my attitude of viewing God's blessings as burdens. I think that it's human nature to be drawn inward, to make ourselves the most important person in the world and to be put out when we have to sacrifice time, sleep, money, or influence for someone or something else.
And when I think about our natural propensity to think of ourselves before others, I'm reminded of how God's love for us is never wavering-- no matter how irresponsible or sinful we've been. Or how much of a hassle we can be.
Romans 5:6 says this:
For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.I'm thankful or the love that God shows me in spite of my selfishness. And I'm thankful that He is at work in me, conforming my life to the pattern of His son Jesus. And as I grow to become more Christlike then I know that I'll be a more godly parent, a more godly husband and a better representative of the gospel that has saved me.
Today, pray that we will learn to love as God loves, serve as God has served, and represent His gospel in such a way that points others to Him.