It’s amazing how one can go on for weeks enjoying life to the full, with no mishaps or major irritations. Then suddenly your bubble of joy is popped, and you can’t believe how awful you’re feeling and how this incident has changed the course of life and the way you think.
We went away in our caravan for a few days to a game reserve. It was exciting, and we were looking forward to this break, and time out to rest and spot some animals in the wild. After unpacking and setting up camp, we sat in our comfy chairs looking out into the bushveld and enjoying a health bar to eat when disaster struck. There was a loud snap. And my front tooth came right out of the socket!
It wasn’t painful, but I looked like the ‘toothless wonder’ that movies are made of. I called my dentist and he could only see me in a weeks’ time, so I had to cope with this in the meanwhile. From that moment on I felt very exposed and didn’t want to smile much. It was also difficult to enjoy a meal.
My husband was gracious and kind, but suddenly I felt like a recluse who wanted to hide away and not be seen by anyone. An acquaintance popped around to see my husband and wanted a photo with us. I managed to smile with no teeth showing. Then a lovely elderly couple moved in next to us in their little tent, and they popped over to be neighbourly and to say “Hi!” Needless to say, I was busy chopping up vegetables for our dinner. I really didn’t want to face anyone.
With one unexpected incident our lives can change drastically. I thought about it, and wondered whether it was pride that was the root of it all? No longer could I smile and be friendly and hospitable, but I wanted to hide away at all costs. When unexpected incidents come our way, how do we react or respond to them? It reminds me of this scripture; ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control’ (Galatians 5:22-23).
Two words were being highlighted to me, ‘long-suffering’ and ‘self-control’. It had all become about me, how I was suffering, what I looked like, and thinking I wasn’t presentable to the world. Maybe I’d missed a wonderful opportunity to minister God’s love to the folk who popped into our lives. Did I forget the healing power of joy? ‘You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy’ (John 16:20). Did I turn to God in my adversity or to myself in self-pity and shame? When we turn to God in our adversity, He’s there to meet our need.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for my pride and shame and help me to keep my eyes on You in the time of my adversity. May I be an example of Your love and grace, even in moments when I feel very inadequate and unable to stand. You are faithful to meet my every need in every situation I may face. Amen.
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