Friday, October 2, 2015

If Only

The boys are on their two-week Fall Break right now. So, we’re getting lots of opportunities to have fun together, to spend time together, and, in the midst of our hours together, to grow in our relationships with each other—you know: the kind of growth that happens in the midst of good times and in the midst of bad times.
There we were, enjoying a laid-back meal together of the boys’ choosing. My love was working late, so our dinner was not as “formal” a time as normal, if our normal could be considered formal. The baby woke up as we were nearing the end of the meal, so I left the 5- and 3-year old to finish things up while I nursed Simon in the next room. Noah, the oldest, finished quickly. Apparently, whatever he ate gave his little frame a boost of energy;  pretty soon he was bounding into the living room, ready for action and giddily goofy. I sent him back to the kitchen to clear his dishes from the table, and then I returned to checking my email on my phone. About a minute passed and I realized that it was getting rowdy in the kitchen, and that Noah had not accomplished the task for which he had been sent. As I looked up from what I was doing, I saw Zeke (the 3-year-old always ready to hop on whatever bandwagon his brother is riding) toss his cup of milk across the table. [Thank God for cups with lids.] Well, throwing was not sufficient goofiness, so he proceeded to slam it around in his attempt to pick it up and then shake it. 
And all the moms know what happens next: 8 ounces of milk, all over the kitchen floor. Splatted on the wall. Wet on the legs of the table and chairs. Slippery in-between little three-year-old toes. If only I wouldn’t have given him a full cup! If only Simon would have slept a few more minutes! If only I wouldn’t have been on my phone! If only NOAH WOULD HAVE DONE WHAT I ASKED HIM TO DO!
As Zeke stood there, feet in milk, milk on floor, and I hurried to get Simon settled somewhere besides my lap, I was quick to anger and quicker to spout off from my mouth. “Zeke! We don’t throw cups! What is that?!?—The second time you’ve spilled a cup of milk today?? Why did you do that?!  Noah! Why didn't you do what I asked you to do? (grumbles under breath....)" 
If only, If only, If only.

Of course, spilled milk is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, so after a few towels and a conversation, we were able to put it behind us (and I began counting down the minutes until my love, a.k.a. my reliever, would come home).
Later that night, after all the boys were asleep, I read these words:
This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Oh, that you had listened to my commands!
Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river
and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.” 
(Isaiah 48:17-18 NLT)
If only.
If only we would listen to God instead of going our own way. If only we would pay attention to our teacher and guide for the right path. He desires to bless our lives. He desires to give us peace and righteousness. How often do our lives look like we’re throwing cups and spilling milk, instead? How many good things have been wasted in our attempts to do things our own way?
If only.

Today, let’s pray for the understanding to hear our Leader’s voice, and for the wisdom to follow in his ways; that we would not be foolish with the blessings he has showered on us; and that we would not make hasty decisions based on what is popular around us. Let us look forward to His peace like a river and righteousness like the waves.

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