This post won't be political either. But I'm not sorry... the topic I've been thinking about is much more important than politics, though it may not seem that way at the beginning.
So for the last few nights, I've been staying in a hotel. It's a nice hotel, too; it has comfy beds, a nice flat screen TV, a big shower, free wireless, and all the important stuff like that. All told, it's a pretty posh place (sorry for the alliteration).
Oh, yeah... the shower. Forgive me if I sound princessy, but I really, really dislike cold. No matter how you dice it, cold is Bad.
Anyway (can you tell I'm tired? My thoughts are not particularly lucid...), I went to hop in the shower the first night I stayed at this hotel. Based on my experience with the rest of the hotel, I expected nice, warm water, which would lead to a nice, relaxing shower. I'd been traveling since about 6 that morning. The last thing I wanted was what some crazy people term "a refreshing shower".
Well, God knew that what I needed wasn't probably what I wanted at that moment. I turned on the water, and it came out cold. Not like swimming pool cold or even Atlantic Ocean cold. This water could have been taken directly from the snowbanks outside my room. It was practically glacial.
Needless to say, I'm a sinful human being. Therefore, when I realized that the hot water was going to be lukewarm at best, I got into a bit of a tizzy. It sounded something like this:
"Oh, please. This is a nice hotel. Can't they keep track of their hot water? Honestly, people. It's not that hard to keep the water hot."
After fiddling with the faucet for a while: "For the love of all that's good and holy, what's the matter with this thing?? I don't want to take a cold shower! I get hypothermia at the drop of a hat! I need heat!"
Obviously, I didn't go into this situation intending to post about it on The Food Dish as a study of trials. If I had, it would have sounded something like this:
"Praise God for running water! The people in Haiti would be so happy for this abundance of water. I wonder how the relief efforts are going down there..."
And so on. Unfortunately, I was so focused on myself that the cold seemed all the more immediate.
Then, as I was attempting--unsuccessfully--to rinse the shampoo out of my hair without getting cold water all over the rest of me, I had an epiphany. What if I convinced myself that the water was warm? This resulted in the following mantra.
The success of this method is limited at best. Like the Hindu and Buddhist mantras, it affords only momentary distraction.
After I was done, I leaped out of the shower and dried myself off quickly. It was only after I was sitting in bed watching TV and trying to warm my icy feet that I realized that I shouldn't have been complaining... or even mantra-ing, if that's a word. (Yes, it did take me that long.) Thus, I asked God for forgiveness.
Funny how life works, isn't it? We see how other people sinfully respond to trials and we say, while looking down our noses, "Oh, I would never do that." Well, think again. We all have sinful natures. We do respond in anger or bitterness or impatience or whatever. We all have a huge predisposition for selfishness (which is our fault, by the way). I was angry that my shower wasn't exactly how I thought it should be. My shower, petty as it was, had become the idol of my heart. I wanted that relaxing shower, darnit, and I was going to get it. I was yelling "WHY CAN'T THIS THING WORK?!" when I should have been saying "I'm so sinful that I don't even deserve to be alive. Comparatively, a cold shower isn't that big of a deal."
Well, I guess you see where I was going with that now. (You're probably also thinking, "Wow, this person is really odd," to which I would say, "Yes, you're quite right.") Our responses to trials show the true nature of our hearts. We put on this super-Christian exterior when all the while, we've got sneaky little sins gnawing away at our hearts. I'm not saying that we should just allow these sins to surface at random. That would be problematic, to say the least. What I am saying is that we should deal with these little sins before they become big sins. In my case, I need to deal with the anger/impatience/bitterness flash that resulted in me getting upset with an inanimate object (the faucet) and blaming the nice hotel people who had nothing to do with it. If I don't deal with this (which I am in fact doing), when something big comes along, I'll be ill prepared to overcome it.
So... moral of the story: trials, no matter how stupid, inane, and petty, bring out our true colors. Thus, we need to make sure that our true colors won't defile the name of Christ. If we can remain gracious and joyful, especially in the midst of trials, everybody's lives will be a whole lot easier and Christ's name will gain a good reputation.