Sometimes I think that various members of my family could have won a gold medal in the sport of leaping off the deep end; maybe the only sport we could have excelled in as a family, now that I think about it... We weren't very athletic...
In my family, things tended to be either/or, now or never, wonderful or terrible. Small mishaps were perceived as hidden time bombs that could lead to a whole chain of events ending in nothing less than nuclear meltdown. If you made a minor mistake at work, that revelation could lead someone in the family to freak out and paint a dire scenario of how this one mistake could eventually lead to being fired which meant you might not be hired ever again and before you knew it, boom, there you'd be: on skid row... Seriously, that was one aspect of my upbringing. And I learned those lessons well.
Today,some Gremlins came calling: "what if", "oh my gosh what have I done" and "w'ere headed to heck in a hand basket" came visiting simply because I have finalized our plans to travel overseas. It's a lot of money... what if one of us gets sick.. or the airlines go on strike and we can't go and we lose thousands of dollars.......or what if I spend the whole two weeks hot-flashing through Israel..? Why did I ever think I could take my geriatric self to a country in the Mid East? Or what if something happens back home while we are gone... Or what if.... I'm sure you get the picture.
While I was stressing, I was doing laundry - if anyone doesn't understand the meaning of eternal, they can live with us for a week and watch the never-ending supply of laundry pile up every morning like manna in the wilderness - and I had an epiphany. (Btw, my epiphanies always happen either in the canned goods section of Krogers or in our laundry room - don't know why - they just do). At any rate, I suddenly felt like God was asking me, "Who taught you to fret like this?" The answer was: my mom fretted like this. The next thought that was still-voiced through my heart was: That's right; it didn't come from Me.
I thought about that. I thought about what some of the O.T. prophets wrote and they were definitely a gloomy bunch. They delivered one downer of a message after another because Israel persevered for years in the wrong direction. But God wasn't quick to write them off; instead He kept trying to turn them around, giving them second and third and fourth and fifth chances. And even when they continued to mess up, He always told them: yes, there is a time of punishment coming but afterwards, you will turn to Me and I will restore your blessings. In other words, He never wrote them off completely no matter how many mistakes they made.
And then there was Abraham - I was reading about him this morning. Like he tried to pass his wife off as his sister because he was afraid that if people knew she was his wife, they would, um, kill him in order to get her. And she did get taken by a pagan king. ANd if that had happened in my family, whoa Buddy! There would have been hand-wringing, stress-city like you cannot imagine. It would have all been over! You'll never get your wife back! You've ruined this whole God-thing that you were supposed to have going! The family line will end here in the deserts of no-where and our name will be mud forever b/c you got scared and told a lie and now look where we are!!!! And what about the neighbors (pagan nations) around us - what will they think? etc...
And really, Abraham's lie did get them into a serious bind. But God didn't stress and he didn't write Abraham off as a lost cause and while Sara probably had a few choice, even dire thoughts going through her mind as she languished in the king's harem, none of those dire things happened. God intervened and carried on with His plans for Abraham, human weakness, frailty and error notwithstanding.
Bottom line: God is patient and He's not into jumping off the deep end, fretting is not His thing.
And it doesn't need to be mine either. What is learned.. can be unlearned...
And that's good!