Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life's Minor Irritations

Last week I went grocery shopping.  While we have a grocery store in our town I try to drive to Salina at least once a month to stock up.   One item on my list was a specialty item:  our favorite chili garlic paste.  I hadn't had it for several weeks as the old jar in our fridge had turned a grayish color and the expiration date was smudged out.  Time to toss it!   I was forced to skip making several dishes as it was a key ingredient. 

So I found my paste in the ethnic section of the grocery store and purchased it at the end of a long tiring shopping trip.  Imagine my dismay when I unpacked my groceries at home and discovered it hadn't been put in my bag.  By this time I had tossed my receipt in the garbage where it was covered in leftover muffin dough.  So I dug it out, washed it and scanned it to make sure I had indeed paid for the item.  Sure enough it was on there.  I called the store and they confirmed they had it and suggested I return to the store to pick it up.  Ugh.  This is where the frustration really began to rise.   I felt like telling the clerk to  "wait just a minute as I drive the 130 mile roundtrip journey to retrieve my $2.00 jar of chili garlic paste."  Instead I explained that it would probably be about two weeks before I might return and she was kind enough to tell me I could stop in and get my paste.

Even though the item was so incidental it was very irritating to have purchased something and not to have it in my bag.  I felt very cheated.  It's not as though the price was a huge issue, but I can't find this item locally.  I really felt like pouting.  Isn't it amazing how something so minor can tip us over the edge into such a frazzled irritated state?

Jonah had this problem.  His life was miraculously spared and in a prophetic way his stay in the belly of the fish foretold the Messiah's resurrection and death.  He saw thousands of people repent and the miracle of God's forgiveness bestowed on the once-depraved citizens of Ninevah.  God kindly allowed a plant to grow to shade Jonah as he sat and watched what would become of the city.   Then God divinely appointed a little hungry worm to attack the plant and kill it. Jonah failed God's test quite horribly and became angry enough over this dead plant that he wished himself dead.

And the LORD said, "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" Jonah 4:10-11

Of course the book ends there and we never find out what happened to Jonah next.  God put Jonah's sour attitude into perspective as He reminds Him that he should be rejoicing in the mercy shown to thousands of people instead of complaining about his lack of shade.  Have you ever been guilty of this?  Have you skipped savoring God's blessing and allowed a minor upset to send you into a fit of irritation?

This morning my pastor preached on Philippians 2:14 "Do all things without grumbling or questioning."  Yes, it was convicting although often my murmuring and grumbling takes place only internally, but God still "hears" it.  If I am filled with the fruit of the Spirit by investing more time with God in His Word only sweet juice (a.k.a. blessings and praise) will spill from my heart when jostled by one of life's minor irritations. 
Grumbling is an evidence of little faith in the gracious providence of God in all the affairs of our lives. And little faith is a dishonor to him. It belittles his sovereignty and wisdom and goodness.  -John Piper

Today I'm linking up with:

Beholding Glory

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