The other night Christy and I watched a few minutes of the Emmy Awards Show and to be honest, I was a bit surprised that my daughters weren’t nominated in the category, Best Actress in a dramatic Role. You see, lately whenever something does or doesn’t go their way, Anna and Norah have been extremely reactionary. Sometimes their reactions are cute and sometimes they’re hilarious. Like the way that Anna has started to say, “Yessssssss!” when she gets what she wants. A few weeks ago we were at the grocery store and as I was grabbing for some string cheese, Anna said, “Dad, not Mozzarella… just get Colby Jack, please, please, please…” I grabbed the Colby Jack string cheese and handed it to Anna who scanned the product and said, “Yesssssssss!” It was super cute. And then sometimes their reactions are not cute at all or even remotely funny, but very intense and dramatic all the same.
When I told Anna that there was no desert in her lunchbox on Monday morning, you would have thought someone had just shot a puppy right in front of her. She lost it, crumpled up her little face and protested through tears about how other kids get to have desert. Then there was the other night when I asked Norah to put down her toys and go wash her hands for dinner. She fell facedown on the ground, rolled around and moaned about how her tummy was hurting so bad that she wouldn’t ever eat again, ever so she couldn’t possibly go wash her hands right now! And the Emmy goes too…
The truth is, that I have been known to throw fits and tantrums when I don’t get my way too. I don’t normally roll around on the ground and invent tummy aches, but I do get surly, negative and just downright grumpy. It may not seem like a big deal, but our attitude in the small, everyday stuff is of huge importance! In Philippians 2, Paul said that a person who simply doesn’t complain is like a star, blazing brightly in the midst of a dark universe! But how do we do it? How can we keep our cool when everything comes undone? When our plans come to nothing and our desires crumble before our very eyes, how can we keep a joyful and peaceful heart?
This morning I was reading 1 Thessalonians 3 where Paul says the coolest thing: “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.” Isn’t that awesome!? He’s saying that they shouldn’t be surprised or shaken over problems and troubles because he was destined for them! That word ‘destined’ is the same word used in Philippians 1 when Paul was in prison and rejoiced because he said he was ‘put there’ for the defense of the gospel. In 2 Timothy 4 Paul says that there is in store for him the crown of righteousness. That phrase, ‘in store’ is the same word, and in Colossians 1 Paul says that there is a hope ‘stored up’ for us in heaven. It’s all the same idea… That word ‘destined’ means that God has put certain problems and trials in our path on purpose.
There are certain things ‘in store’ for us that we have to go through in order to be the people He has in mind. We shouldn’t be surprised, unsettled or shaken by problems. We should welcome them for what they are: the next step in the perfect path He’s making for us. The trials we face are not surprises to God; rather, He allotted them to us on purpose. The problems are part of our destiny because they make us the people we will be when we step foot into heaven, our final destiny with our destined crown of righteousness!