Today when I was walking my dog, he was charged by another dog. I was prepared for the situation; however, because the same dog owner allowed this to happen weeks ago. Last time, he had let his Golden Retriever run loose and the dog came and snapped at my dog. This time, he left his German Shepherd loose, and although there was no snapping, I was not a happy camper at the second episode of negligence.
In life we will meet a person who will do something that irritates us, that hurts us or something that is wrong. We will throw our hands in the air (or sometimes our fists) and demand change. We will get angry. We will say words (sometimes words that are not positive, life speaking words). We will be frustrated by these people who do not do what we want them to do; however, we cannot expect them to change and act as we wish. Nor can we expect someone to follow the commands of God.
I was mad at this man today. He has proven twice that he cannot handle his dogs. The first time I was upset. I was injured. My dog was frightened. It was not a good situation. This second time, though prepared for it, was just as bad. Even so, some people will not change. We can only control our reactions to a situation—not someone else. It is how you react to any given situation that says something about you. I know I do not always react as I should, but I also know that over the years, the Holy Spirit has helped me to react better to each given situation. Don’t let situations and circumstances control you. React with love.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 [NLT]
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:17-19 [NIV]
On Saturday mornings we have a family tradition that occurs almost like clockwork. Since my children were born nearly every Saturday morning I make us a big breakfast with pancakes, eggs, etc. When I make pancakes, there is something that I do that many people would find quite odd; I purposely burn a few pancakes for myself.
When I was a young girl, I fondly remember my grandma making my cousin and I both pancakes for breakfast. We would eat countless pancakes as my grandma continued to add more to our pile. As she got older, the pancakes changed. There were times when she would burn the pancakes because she couldn’t keep up like she had in years past. I couldn’t refuse to eat her pancakes. I ate the burnt pancakes and developed a taste for them. Hence the reason I have burnt pancakes that I make for myself now.
In life, we will be handed some delicious pancakes, but there will be times when burnt ones will come our way too. It is how you respond to those burnt pancakes that show your true colors—who you really are as a person. Anyone can gladly accept the good things in the life—but not everyone can joyfully accept the bad things.
Today, rejoice and be joyful in all situations, remembering that God has a much bigger picture. It’s really not about the pancakes at all.
Life is filled with changes. We experience change every day. Sometimes change can be good and sometimes it is not so well received. I know when it is unexpected, change can make one feel like the ground is shaking beneath them. It can be overwhelming and very unsettling.
Those who have graduated and proceeded forward with the journey through adulthood may be quite familiar with the class reunions. For some people, these meetings are grueling and they choose to stay away so that no one can detect their thinning hair or expanding waistline. Then there are others who want to go show everyone all that they have accomplished in the past.
This past week I had the opportunity to see someone who I have not seen in many years. Before the meeting, I honestly wondered if the person had changed at all. I have changed a lot these past years. To my surprise, the person did not change one bit. It was as if nothing at all happened in all those years.
After the meeting, I started thinking about how I have changed over the years. I also thought about the many new things I am embarking on at the present moment. Change can be scary. At times there is this feeling of uncertainty because of the unfamiliar ground we tread upon. Change can also hurt because quite possibly it is not what we expected or what we desired. Change can be so great and welcomed like the birth of newborn child. Change can also be something we wish we could refuse because we feel let down or failed.
This got me thinking about God and how He never changes. Our God is the same yesterday and today, and He will be the same tomorrow. I understand with all the changes that are happening around me and in my life, that He is always there through it all. Through each obstacle, He carries me through– He is always faithful. Through all the wrong turns, He is there to show me grace– He is always forgiving. Through every heartbreak, He is right by my side to comfort me– His love is never-ending.
Perhaps life is unfolding in a way you never imagined. Perhaps the road doesn’t look as smooth as it once did. There is no certainty of what can be expected for tomorrow. Nonetheless, I know one thing. I know that God will be there. He always is. And so, I accept whatever changes come my way, because in the end, I know He will be by my side.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 [NASB]