Originally posted by Mike Young February 22, 2008
Here’s a story many of you can identify with… I didn’t really feel like being in church last Sunday. I wasn’t feeling great. One of the bugs that are being passed around in the community caught up with me. But it was more than a cold; one of it’s manifestations was a very painful ulcer on the side of my tongue. Annoying and uncomfortable. It hurt to talk and eat. It just hurt, period. So physically, I wasn’t in great shape.
The morning hadn’t gone so well either. I normally get up early and have some quiet time… didn’t happen this day. I stayed in bed too long and then I had to get some stuff ready for church that I hadn’t completed on Saturday (because I was wiped out on the sofa all day with this cold.) I also was busy packing bags in our vehicle because we were going down to spend the night with my parents. So, no quiet time with God to start the day and rushed to get a variety of things done.
Then, after everyone was finally ready and in the car… Stacy noticed that Hannah, (our 3-year old daughter) had on the wrong shoes with her outfit, and her hair was a mess. I think that was one of those miscommunication things; I could have monitored her more closely but I had other things to do, so did Stacy. So Hannah took matters into her own hands, which she doesn’t mind doing but the results aren’t great.
Stacy ran back into the house to get shoes, hairbrush etc. While she did that I sent Tim, our oldest son, to pick up the paper in the driveway so I could read it in the afternoon. When Stacy got back to the car, she jumped in the back seat so she could address the Hannah disaster. I placed the paper on the console between the two seats and Tim jumped in the other front seat. We were finally off to church. Late and a disheveled, but we were finally on the way.
We pulled up to an intersection where I had to drive across one lane to get into my traveling lane. As I accelerated, the paper slid off the console, I reached back to grab it. When I did, I drove right across my travel lane and Tim yelled… Watch Out Dad! I looked up to see that I was about to hit a sign post on the opposite side of the road. I was able to avoid hitting the post directly but it did clip the side-view mirror on the passenger door and shattered it. Tim, who is a bit dramatic, reacted in panic. I immediately thought of the money I just threw out the window and waited for a biting remark from Stacy.
Our family was in a bit of a crisis. No one was hurt, we were still on our way to church but things just weren’t going well. I told every one that we just all needed to settle down and maintain composure that we needed to collect ourselves and keep going. We arrived at church, late, and made our way inside with some huffing and puffing. I was able to get some material in place and make a couple of connections regarding getting our guys to the upcoming Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference. As I was moving around, I overheard Tim, in a group of his peers, telling everyone about our morning.
My reaction was not good. I summoned him to the restroom pretty abruptly and made it clear that our family challenges for the day did not need to be broadcast for the entire church. I wasn’t in the mood to hear his banter. I told him that one day it would probably be funny but it wouldn’t be funny today and he needed to keep himself in check. So, after that, our family proceeded into the sanctuary to join our brothers and sisters in worship.
Wow, I was in pretty bad shape. My mouth hurt. I was mad, frustrated, disappointed with myself, discouraged about all the stuff I hadn’t gotten done because I was sick and just generally in a rotten mood. As I stood there, not singing, I knew people would notice that I was not my normal self. I started thinking about how I didn’t want to be there… but I needed to be there. I thought about how I didn’t want to worship God… but I needed to worship. My praise was Un-Easy that day.
Then, I thought about the men, many men, who can relate to what I was feeling. Sometimes life just isn’t fun. In those times, worship isn’t easy to engage and actually being in church is a bit uncomfortable…perhaps a lot uncomfortable.
The whole exercise was good for me…not fun, but good. My life isn’t perfect, my family isn’t perfect. When life smacks us around and things don’t go so well, praise and worship don’t come easily. Walking with Christ on those days is a real challenge. Leading my family is uncomfortable at best.
So, I’m thankful that every day isn’t like last Sunday. I’m also thankful that I know how much better things can be. I’m thankful that I know the peace of Christ. I’m thankful that I’m understanding better each day what His abundant life is all about. I’m thankful that there are some men who came alongside me over the course of the week to check on me. I’m thankful that God is sovereign through all our troubles and he can help us get through the fog.
I’m also thankful for Paul’s example for us. Consider this passage: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. II Corinthians 1:3-4.
- Men, have you experienced any discomfort lately that made life Un-Easy?
- Have you experienced any spiritual upheaval that made praise Un-Easy?
- Could I challenge you to use those opportunities to accept comfort from God…however he may send it… then, once you get back on your feet…pass your relief along by comforting others.
Now, have you got a story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.