A number of years ago, I was in a rush one day to get my two children to their gymnastic lessons. As I pulled my car in the parking lot, I instructed them to head into the building for their class. "Aren't you going to come in and watch us?" questioned my young teenage daughter, disappointment etched on her face.
I told her to take her younger brother inside, that I was tired and wanted some quiet time in my car. The gym was a noisy active place with close to a hundred kids, instructors, and parents coming and going. The lobby was a virtual madhouse and I wanted to escape the bedlam.
Sighing with contentment, I picked up the book I had brought along for the time of refreshment. But as I attempted to read, I was continually distracted by the high-pitched, frenzied barking of a dog. Looking around to see where all this commotion was coming from, I noticed the source. Directly behind my car, another mother had pulled up to the gym. She too was waiting in her vehicle for the hour-long class to end. Enjoying the beautiful fall day with windows rolled down, she sat contentedly enjoying or ignoring her poodle's antics.
On the other hand, I was not relishing the background noise or my time alone. To the contrary, I was developing a headache and an increasingly bad attitude. I don’t particularly care for poodles--especially yapping ones--and with each passing attempt to ignore the dog, my irritation was growing. I thought about moving my car to another area, but discovered the woman's car had me blocked in. I mean, I was trapped!
After a short time of enduring the barking, I finally resolved that the chaos of the gym would be more pleasant. So much for the quiet time! With mounting frustration and anger, I was ready to tell the woman and dog what I thought about them as I exited my car. Now that would really have added to the spiritual moment I was attempting to have. Maintaining some sense of self-control, I decided it was best to keep my opinions of poodles to myself.
Do you ever have those kinds of irritating moments? Okay maybe it's not a barking dog, but maybe it's a driver on the road in front of you driving below the speed limit and in the fast lane when you're late for work. Or perhaps it's the neighbor that decides to mow his lawn at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning--the one day you planned to sleep-in! Then again, it could be the irritation of waiting in the “express” line at the grocery store while the person ahead of you checks out with a cart full of groceries. Whatever the situation or circumstances, those irritating moments really do show our attitudes. God says, “In everything give thanks,” even on those irritating dog day moments!
Entering the gym, my children's faces lit-up with delight to see me. Soon, I struck-up a friendly conversation with another mom waiting and watching her children. My place to be that day was right there inside the gym. He just used a dog to get me there.
Always hold your schedule loosely and trust My plans for you each moment of every day. You often get angry or even stressed over small issues that don’t matter in the scheme of eternity. Can you look for My Hand of guidance when your plans are interrupted? Can you trust that I am guiding you or just trust that I am trying to get you to slow down and enjoy life? Can you look for those Divine appointments I may have ordered in the interruption of your day? Instead of allowing resentment to spring up in your heart, turn to Me with gratitude and even trust. Yes, even learning to give Me thanks!
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:17)