If you know me at all, this next sentence will come as no surprise:
I’ve been online shopping a lot recently.
Sometimes for big things (like a new weight bench) and sometimes for small things (like books), but this has led to a plethora of cardboard boxes and packing paper being left around our house. You know the drill. The excitement of opening the new box that just magically appeared on the porch. The anticipation (even when you know what it is). And finally, the triumph that yes, this thing will be the best thing ever! But then there are the boxes to deal with. If you’re like us, we tend to leave the boxes sitting as long as we can until they start to become part of the room. Sometimes, if we’re really on it, we put the boxes in the basement, resigning them to their doom.
Well recently, we had various boxes and packing paper strewn about the living room, and our cats went nuts!
Like, up-all-night-making-a-ruckus-and-loving-it nuts. It was cute for a while… until it wasn’t anymore. After about two days of this, I said to my cats (because I’m a normal person who talks to their pets like they’re human), “I give you everything you need or want and all you care about is this paper!” Then I promptly picked the paper up and threw it away. This caused much grieving out of my cats, and you would have thought I had not fed them in days.
The longer their laments went on, the funnier my husband and I found it. And then I just looked at them and realized, this is just like us with God.
As I look back on my life, I’m sure there have been more than a few times that God has looked at me in exasperation and said some variation of “I give you everything you want or need you and you only care about __________.”
So what’s the paper in my life? At any given time it’s been things as mundane as shoes and as severe as my GPA. But that’s so like us. To get caught up in the feelings and emotions of something that sparkles to us rather than looking at all the diamonds we have been given. God literally provides all that we could ever need, but do we often live like that? No. I definitely don’t.
And the things that have served as my paper have been both good and bad. Boys, homework, grades, protests, cell phones, etc. The point isn’t whether it is good or bad. It’s the fact that we so easily get distracted from the beauty and grace that God has given to us. And then, when we’re so distracted by something and it gets taken away or lost, we throw a fit. We wail. We cry. We carry on. We proclaim “this isn’t fair!” But God never said things would be fair. God gives us what we need and promises to endure with us through it all - good and bad. And yes, sometimes our paper gets taken away, but we’ll adjust. My cats have adjusted - they’ve probably forgotten all about that paper. They’re now contentedly playing with their mice, unaware that more paper is about to come into their lives via my online shopping…
Lord, help us to focus on You and Your goodness. Keep our eyes and hearts trained on You. Help us to be aware of our “papers” that arise in our lives - both good and bad. You are the ultimate paper in our lives, our ultimate fixation and goal. I struggle to live into this. Gently prod me until I require dramatic pushing. May we all strive to be aware of things that get in Your way in our lives. Amen.