Friday night. The end of yet another marathon-paced week in the Ashbaugh house. We had a delayed dinner due to my husband’s later work schedule—and the guys settled into an evening of their most recent video game challenge. After completing a few tasks that were still hanging on from the day, I anticipated an early pillow time. On top of the busy, I was sleep deprived from sharing my half of the bed with my new cling-tight—-a huge, 17 pound, furry black creature—Steve the Cat. He has taken a liking to nesting in the small of my back or directly in my "gut region"—either position results in long nights of tossing and turning with the occasional back ache!
As my head hit the cool of my pillow, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had made it to bed before 10–and my whisker-adorned bed hog was nowhere to be found. Just as I began to doze off, it started. “Bark.” “Bark.” “Bark, bark, bark.” “Bark.” Somewhere out behind my little slice of peace, a neighbor’s dog had begun barking incessantly. It continued well into the night and soon, a car alarm joined in the tune.
This morning, now refreshed with a bit of sleep, (Someone finally let that poor, freezing dog inside, the car alarm eventually silenced, and--I kicked the cat out!), I reflect on the past night's events-- how I had allowed them to become bothersome, and disruptive. How I let the “outside crazy” in and let it swallow my plans of an a good night’s sleep. It reminds me of other “outside craziness” that can affect our days. As Christians, we want to help others. We want to do what’s right. But sometimes, the "outside craziness" can sneak into our window at night, into our "little slice of peace". As humans, we can't fix everyone's hurts. We can't put other's lives in order. We can't bring justice when someone has been wronged. We want to. No one likes to see a friend hurt, or suffer a loss. We don't want to see a child go without, or struggle through something.
Sometimes we (ME) can take on the weight of every person's hurt, every friend's sadness or sickness, every kid's tear, every injustice. I'm not saying we shouldn't "do" anything because that isn't what God requires of us. But He does tell us clearly what we CAN do…
We can LOVE: "A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34.
We can ENCOURAGE: "Therefore encourage on another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Thessalonians 5:11.
We can SPEAK TRUTH to a hurting or wandering friend: "Instead, speaking truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ." Ephesians 4:15.
We can PRAY: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18.
We can TRUST: "Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.
I find comfort in the realization that I am not on the same 'level" as God. It's ok not to understand. It's ok not to know "WHY?". Only He knows all--only He knows why--and only HE can make it all right. He has a purpose in what is happening. There is PEACE in knowing our place in the craziness and what God expects from us. And sometimes, it is ok to "shut the window" and get some rest. Craziness appears much less "crazy" through a heart rested and relying on God.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."" Psalm 91:1-2