Recently one of my children got sick with a flu which was somewhat explosive. There was diarrhea everywhere in the bathroom. The first thing I thought to myself was that I was thankful that this child had never had a pooping problem. This was, to my knowledge, the first time I’ve cleaned up poop since this child was potty trained years ago. Secondly, as I went to get the wipes, I was grateful that we had wipes, because we went a lot of months without wipes. Our family decided to buy them again because they are great for cleaning counters and bathrooms and countless other things.
Oddly, this was just days after I had posted my “Anger and Potty Training” article, as if the enemy once again would accuse me before God of not having learned my lesson. I’m smiling because God boasted in me. He knew I would pass the test. That is why He granted permission for the trial to occur. I love reading the book of Job, because God only gives us trials that He knows we will pass. And we always pass them, sooner or later.
So I scrubbed the poop for probably half an hour, trying to breathe through my mouth. I wasn’t angry, which is what my reaction used to be toward cleaning this sort of thing. I just calmly endured. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It had to be the Holy Spirit, because to have joy in the middle of a yucky circumstance is impossible, and yet there I was, feeling joy.
Two days later I had a high fever. I had not felt this bad in years. I couldn’t get up without feeling like I was going to crack my skull on the ground. I thought to myself, “I can’t function. I am completely helpless. I wonder if I should call Alan to come home from work, because there is no way I can take care of the kids.” But my husband had taken the previous day off to do a webinar on the Homeschool Channel with me, and if he has a day off, I would like it to count for something. I decided against it.
I told the children to pour their own cereal. Thankfully I had trained the older two kids, 10 and 11, how to pour their own cereal. So they helped their younger brother and sister to have breakfast. For lunch they were all able to make sandwiches. I was thankful that I had trained them how to make their own lunch. Off and on throughout the day, my daughter would come into my room and hug me. Oh, I forgot to say that all four of my children were also sick. But I was grateful for my daughter’s hugs, her checking in on me. One time I asked her to get her brother, who brought me a yogurt container so that I could eat breakfast. My children took care of me, and I got through the day. I was thankful for the fact that they didn’t fight that day, probably because they all had low-grade fevers and were mostly watching DVD’s.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can be thankful for something that looks like misery on the surface of it. It’s a tailor-made circumstance through which you can do the right thing. My greatest desire is to be transformed into the image of Christ, so if I can stop thrashing about and yield to God in my circumstance, the growth will happen at an accelerated pace. And then it becomes easier and easier, because the closer you are to Christ, the more joy you have in the midst of your circumstances.