Oh the pain of not getting what you want. Disappointment, anger, confusion, sadness, depression, rage, denial, and the list goes on of the emotions experienced when we don’t get our way. Spend some time around toddlers and you are bound to see the dreaded “temper tantrum.”
Thankfully (most of us) progress past this non-coping mechanism; but that doesn’t mean disappointment gets easier to handle. In fact, I distinctly remember my life ending, several times.
[Wait. Are you sure?]
Yup. I’m sure, my life ended, repeatedly.
Case in point:
-One time I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at my friend’s house.
-Another day it rained on the day of my big summer plans.
-This one time my sister got into my favorite toys and made a mess.
What do you mean that these weren’t catastrophic events? I remember when these were the devastating moments of life. What’s (kind of) unbelievable is how honestly life-ending each moment felt. Maybe you know the feeling, like you are never going to get over it… things will never be the same… you are going to be mad forever…
Making a mountain out of a molehill… and I sure was good at it! Because (obviously) my life didn’t end. I had made the little into the BIG.
If you had tried to offer me perspective, a grand scheme of life kind of view, if you had the audacity to suggest these were mere drops of water in an ocean… I’m sure I would have vehemently disagreed, believing you just didn’t have a clue.
Time and perspective are a funny thing. Life has a way of moving on. I’ve come to see grownup sorrows rage like tsunamis compared to rain drops of childhood disappointment. An umbrella can block a sprinkle, even shield you from a downpour but what can stop the immense force of the ocean running aground?
It can leave you feeling helpless.
The gospels tell us of a woman suffering. Mark 5 says, “a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She has suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”
What suffering she must have experienced as she was ill so long. What trials she endured as money was consumed but her bleeding continued and her situation deteriorated. Sorrow heaped upon sorrow that in her infirmity not only was she ill… she was “unclean”, outcast, isolated…
As problems and trials are concerned, hers was BIG and her situation dire. She’d done what she could, spent all she had, all the BIG responses to a BIG ailment had left her bleeding worse.
Twelve years she endured.
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
And there it was, in the act of the little, the BIG was accomplished.
To take the little motion, BIG faith was needed. Faith that was BIG enough to not despair to the point of abandoning hope in the face of an unrelenting ailment. Courage BIG enough to place herself in the crowds who had likely deemed her unclean. Faith BIG enough to believe in the healing power of Jesus.
All that BIG prompted an act so little that only Jesus noticed, no words were needed, only a small touch of his garment.
God seems to work that way, in paradigm shifts that leave my head spinning and my heart fixed upon Him.
As we enter the Advent Season and celebrate this first week of hope… and I acknowledge the many “grown up sorrows” that surround from international atrocities, to national struggles, the pain of hardship endured by those in our communities and churches, and moments of personal distress… I look at all that BIG and I wonder: where is the hope?
Hope came in the little.
Hope so little it came as a baby, God come to earth. Our Immanuel, “God with us,” born as a little baby come to save, to rescue, to redeem…
‘Cause God does that you know, works the BIG through the little… and the little through the BIG. And I am so thankful, because I couldn’t fathom it, I can’t understand it, but I can trust and hope in Him!