Russians, Blindness and Plastic Grapes
I was the fifth child, a late in life baby for my parents, an 'oops' so to speak. There were eight years between the fourth child and myself and 16 from the first. I was probably more like an only child except with four other 'grown ups' coming in and out of my life. I spent a substantial amount of time alone or at least alone in my head. So, with all the free time that I spent in my head and with lots of busy adults coming and going, I had plenty of time to let my mind wander and wander it did, wander and worry. I was an over thinker and a doomsday scholar. I worried about whether my parents were still breathing, and would sometimes sneak in their room at night just to check. I worried about nuclear war (it was the 80's) and someone breaking into our house. I was consumed with outbreaks and news stories and didn't at all understand eternity, that scared me to death. Once I got shampoo in my eyes and I though for sure I would go blind and after checking with my older siblings, they confirmed my fears, I was most definitely going to live my life in the dark. One day, at my neighbors house, we decided to pluck off the plastic grapes from her mother's decorations and chew on them (no clue what we were thinking there) and low and behold guess who swallowed hers? Yeah, this worry wart. I thought for sure my stomach was going to explode or that the grape would permanently be implanted into my intestines. Another time I woke to the sound of a helicopter and thought for sure that we were being invaded by Russians (again, the 80's).
All of this to say, I worried about a lot and I worried about weird stuff, stuff that normal people don't worry about. But let me tell you what I didn't worry about. I didn't worry about coming home and not having something on my plate at dinner. I didn't worry that when I got tired I would not have somewhere to sleep. I didn't worry about getting up in the morning and not having clothes to put on my awkward preteen body. It never once crossed my mind that my family didn't love me and that I would ever not have them on my side. And, do you know why I never worried about that? From the day I was born, my parents made sure I was fed. They changed me and provided for me, always. I never went hungry, I never went naked, I never went without a home. Day after day, week after week, I never had my needs not met so I never ever needed to concern myself with those things, Russians, blindness and plastic grapes were another story, they had never proven themselves to me. I really thought about that concept a few days ago, just thinking about all that God has done in my life. I thought about how easy it is to trust Him because He always shows up, He always answers, He always cares. Don't get me wrong, sometimes His answer is different than what I want it to be. Sometimes He wants me to wait. Sometimes His answer hurts but draws me closer to Him. Sometimes He answers the silliest requests, just to show me that He is listening. Sometimes He is completely silent but never gone. My favorite verse is Psalm 116:2 that says 'Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!' This verse sums it all up. Just like me in my worry wart youth, I never worried about the essentials because I had people that did that for me. My parents had to concern themselves with how to make sure we had food and clothing, I didn't. My mom may have fixed salmon patties (I really hated salmon patties) and I complained and didn't want to eat them, but there was always food. God wants that for us! He wants us to completely rely on Him, give Him our cares, give Him our talents, give Him our worries and let Him take care of the details. He will never disappoint. And unlike me in my immature youth, when our basic needs are of no worry, we can set our sights on the things of heaven and 'be renewed as we learn to know our Creator and become like Him' (Colossians 3:10 NLT). So let's let God take care of our details and spend our time 'thinking' about how to be more like Jesus.