Has anyone else noticed how quickly a kid can turn on ya? Like if you give a 2 year-old a piece or two of candy, and they’re so nice and cute, but then you draw the line, and suddenly you’re dealing with a 25 pound Godzilla? Just an example.
A couple weeks ago, we took the kids to Disneyland Tokyo, and we all had a fabulous time. The lines were a little long and it was a little bit cold, but nothing unbearable. The whole day was really great. We got to ride several rides, and the kids even got to ride Space Mountain (their favorite!) twice. But then it was time to go home. And Claire, usually the most agreeable of the bunch, to be honest, started pitching a nice little Claire-sized fit. Crocodile tears, high-pitched grunting, funny little dance moves with each and every step. So I took her bootie to the bathroom and gave her a little talkin’ to about how much trouble and money we spent to bring them to the hotel and Disneyland (and even brought her best friend along!), and how her ungratefulness at that moment was inappropriate and unacceptable. She responded with repentance and all was well after that. But it really jolted me that she could act like that after the day we’d had. I was thinking about it on the way home that day, and then again yesterday, as I reflected on my own heart.
I realized that it’s not just kids who do this. We grownups do it all the time too. When life is good and fun and pleasant (which is hopefuly most of the time), we are good and fun and pleasant. But when we don’t get enough candy (whatever our candy might be) or when the fun stops short of our expectations , or lo and behold, something truly horrible happens, many of us grownups throw our own little grown-up sized fits. We raise our fists at the establishment or at our authorities or even at our Father in heaven, questioning the wisdom and kindness of the powers (or Power) that be. Just like my precious Claire suddenly forgot that she just spent 8 hours at Disneyland just because she didn’t get to go on the log-ride (in the freezing cold!), we forget. We forget that we LIVE in the land of the plentiful when groceries and gasoline cost too much and things get a little tight for even just a little while. I can think of many, many times in my life that I have responded to trials with this ingratitude.
And I’m sorry. And I want to be thankful next time my Father says it’s time to do something I don’t necessarily want to do. Because my Father is good and kind and He loves me and has never given me any reason to doubt that He absolutely knows what He’s doing in my life. For that reason, it’s really easy for me to be thankful in retrospect–for the hard things in my childhood, for heartbreak in my teenage years, for friendships gone cold, for jobs lost, even for a baby lost. It’s easy (for me) to look back and see His hand, His goodness, His purpose, and to be even immensely grateful for the hardships, because in them, He has driven me to Him over and over again because He loves me and He knows that HE is the very best thing for me, despite my Israel heart that forgets Him too quickly. Often though, in the midst of the thing, I don’t feel (or act) very thankful. Too often I momentarily forget His goodness and sovereignty. And I want that to change about me.
I am encouraged by Hebrews 12:
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.”
The kingdom of God is within me, and it is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. I don’t want to be so easily shaken.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends and family. It’s 2am, my turkey’s in the oven, and I’m going to bed.