I have been a little stressed lately. For a long while, we have been praying about what to do with our housing situation. We live in a small 3 bedroom ranch house, and we have five children. While I am well aware that from a world perspective we are blessed beyond measure (we are not living in a dirt hut, we have no debt but our home, we take nice vacations, and I wouldn't trade the five kids for 100 palaces), we are feeling quite cramped sometimes. And we would like to have more children, but I would really like for us to be in a slightly larger place before that happens. Part of the stress, also, is the cultural idea that people with large families have no right to complain because they obviously brought it on themselves. If I didn't want to be stressed, I should not have had five kids. I should have done the sensible thing and got my tubes tied after "a girl for me, a boy for you, and praise the Lord I'm finally through!" Honestly, I don't expect the world to see me any differently than that. But when fellow Christians make crude statements and show that they see children as a curse instead of a blessing and that only idiots have more than two of them, it is hurtful. It'd be nice if our churches in America had an attitude of support toward families instead of ridiculing them. I have as much respect for the mother of an only child as I do for a mother of ten. Offhand, I can even think of a Christian lady who has no children of her own and is worthy of great honor for the way she conducts herself and the way she is encouraging to the parents around her. What I am condemning is the general attitude that Children are a CURSE. The truth is, parenting is HARD WORK no matter how many children you have. Parents, especially those of large broods, need the support of the church, not condemnation. But I digress.
Then Joe's truck wouldn't pass a state inspection this year, which means it is no longer legal to drive on base. Which means we are down to one vehicle between us- a 2000 suburban. Which I am very thankful for. This is also not the end of the world. Just makes things a LITTLE more stressful having to share the vehicle getting Joe to and from work while he or I run children to co-op, ballet, scouts, etc. We started out looking for a 12-15 passenger van, which we still plan to purchase in the future. After looking however, there were none in our price range....either too cheap and drove to bits or brand new. So for now, we decided to look for a comfortable car for Joe to drive to/from work which would also be useful when only part of us are going somewhere and would get better gas mileage than the suburban which I affectionately call "the tank". We have been diligently saving money, and have been prepared to offer cash in the hopes of getting a better deal. And we had thought we found one.
It's a nice car. We went, met seller, Joe test drove. We prayed, made an offer, and the seller said they were firm on the price. Cool, no problem. We told the seller to keep us in mind if he changed his mind. So then in a couple days, he emails back and makes a counter offer. We accept, he agrees and says we will meet when his "loan goes through" which should be "any minute now." A couple days pass with Joe emailing him, and the whole time he keeps saying his loan is being held up. Then tonight Joe notices the guy has listed his car TODAY on Craigslist. For a 1000 dollars over what he agreed to sell it to us. What a jerk. Does integrity mean nothing in our culture anymore? So we know now he's been stringing us along, hoping to keep us on the hook in case a better offer doesn't come along. And my mom and sister are flying in tomorrow. And we have wasted time and have no vehicle to hold us all. I am quite upset.
What I want is to pray fire down from heaven on this guy. I want God to show this guy who he's messing with....but that is not what Jesus modeled.
Or King David. Listen to King David:
" 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever." (Psalm 23)
God never promised to do away with my enemies here on earth....only that he would bless me in spite of them. And how do goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life? Only if the Lord really is my shepherd. That means that He is my source. HE is my refuge and fortress...not some guy with a car. Even a nice car. If I am ever going to believe that God is enough, then it has to be right now. This moment, Marcy Cherry. Do or die: Who is your source? God the economy? God or even your husband? Maybe Barack Obama or Ron Paul?
I choose God. He is the only one I can put my trust in. This car deal is just a reminder of that. And I must forgive that man. Because I am no better. No I have never cheated anyone on a car deal. But my sins were what nailed Jesus to the cross. How many times in my heart have I sinned against people closer to me than some name on Craigslist, which is all we are to that guy? I will need God's grace tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. And if I am to receive it, I must first extend it.
"You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44).
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14)."Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17-21).
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails "(1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Help me tonight Lord. To walk in forgiveness like you. To love this person enough to let go of vengeance and seek in my heart to love him as you love us. I trust you. YOu are our source, Lord. You meet our needs according to your riches in glory. I shall not want, because you satisfy me with grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. I have the better portion, help me not to covet a lesser one. Let not sin of bitterness or unforgiveness keep me from your presence. Guard our hearts Lord, for out of it flow the issues of life. I am angry, but help me to trust you and not to sin in my anger but to release my "rights" to you in exchange for your grace and mercy. Allow that I would view ALL sin and offenses in light of the cross.
I love you Lord,