Sometimes an annoying situation glares at us like a zagged crack right down the center of a pane of glass.
A couple weeks ago, I was at the mall doing some last-minute shopping before my brother’s wedding when I witnessed one mother facing such a crack.
“Shut up right now,” she said to her crying toddler as they came up to share my bench. “I mean it. You stop all that, or I’ll leave you here. You know I will.”
The little boy just cried harder.
“All right,” she said. “I’ll leave you right here, and I don’t care if somebody takes you away.”
To my shock, and his, she did just that. When the little boy started to follow, she commanded him to stay put. She walked until I could no longer see her. Naturally, the toddler’s wails grew louder.
Eight or ten minutes later, I’d decided to send my niece to find mall security, when the mother returned. With no apparent sympathy for her child’s terror, she hoisted him up and was off again.
“How’s that supposed to help?” my niece said. “I’d cry harder too if I thought my mom had abandoned me.”
It’s a bit like trying to use a hammer to get rid of that annoying crack in the glass. You end up with the entire situation in shards at your feet.
Running late and can’t find the keys? We start tossing everything around, burying the keys further. Bad hair day? We slam the brush on the counter and it breaks. Trouble with a co-worker or boss? One sharp word makes the crack grow into a spiderweb of splinters waiting to shatter.
What if, instead, we pause and ask God to shine on the situation? The crack may still be there, but less visible in the glow of His Light. Then, seeing things more clearly, we can move on, unhindered by that annoyance which had broken our peace.
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 (NKJV)