“You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or understand the workings of the human mind; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out his mind or comprehend his thought?….In spite of everything let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who is putting us to the test as he did our ancestors.” Judith 8:12,16
The other day I misplaced my car keys. I was at our main building in El Paso, which is a huge place. It used to be a department store, and it has a large first floor with lots of side rooms, an enormous basement and various offices upstairs. There were so many places my keys could have been, since I’m up and downstairs all day long. Saying a quick prayer, I retraced my steps trying to remember where I laid my keys down. After walking around for a while, I suddenly had a recollection of where I might have put them and ran upstairs to one of the offices. Sure enough, there were my car keys. Thank you Jesus!
There is always a lesson lurking in the events of the day — if we stop and reflect. Just as parents are alert for and use “teaching moments” to educate their kids, so, too, does God use teaching moments to form us. Many times they are small grievances, for example: driving all the way to the store and realizing you forgot your wallet. Or worse, getting to the checkout with your cart full of groceries before you realize you don’t have your wallet. Locking your keys in your car — and worse, seeing that you locked your cell phone in there also!
These small events can be a cause for frustration and anger, or we can choose to see them in light of God training and disciplining us. If we choose the second option, we can say, “Okay, Lord. I choose to praise You and thank You, because Ephesians 5:20 says, “give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we lose our keys and are searching for them, we can say, “Thank You, Lord, for this trial of inconvenience. As fervently as I am seeking for my keys, I want to fervently be seeking You. ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek,’ Psalm 27:8.
If we can perceive God’s loving hand in allowing these things to happen, that they can help train and discipline us, then we can smile and even laugh at daily annoyances.
God has a sense of humor. This is something that Fr. Rick Thomas taught me. And later also, Fr. Jack Vessels, who was our chaplain for seven years. Fr. Jack used to call his guardian angel, “Laughing Boy” because of these kinds of little mishaps. If he locked himself out of the car, missed a ride, or couldn’t finding a paper he needed, Fr. Jack would say, “Laughing Boy is at it again!” And he would chuckle. He had learned the important lesson: don’t take yourself too seriously. The ability to laugh at yourself and at the little grievances of the day, helps to keep a smile on your face, and then you will radiate joy to those you meet.
Remember, there is always a lesson. Take time to ponder, and say, “Okay, God. Here I am. Apart from You I can do nothing. What are You trying to teach me in the events of this day?” Then look at:
- How did I respond?
- Did I learn?
- Or did I flunk that test?
Don’t worry if you failed. There will be more pop quizzes tomorrow.