How do we handle disappointment?
And how do we teach our kids to handle it? 2 very disappointing things happening at the Stevens' house. First of all, we had told the kids that if they (meaning Nathan & Caleb) could earn 300 points (earning 1 or 2 points for basic chores around the house; Nathan earning 1-5 points for different school things such as good handwriting or "perfect" worksheets/tests), we would buy them a Nintendo Wii. Nathan's favorite cousin, Jeff, has one as does his cousin, Robert. His grandparents (Jonathan's parents) even have one for when the kids come over. They all seemed to just walk in and find one. We knew the Christmas rush would be bad but when we set up the point system in January, we thought by the time the kids got to 300, the rush would be over and we'd be just like everyone else, to walk in and get one. Wrong-o! They're very disappointed as no one in the Columbus metro area has one and doesn't anticipate getting one any time soon. They keep giving the "you'll just have to keep calling back to ask" kind of answer. The kids are handling it better than I thought they would -- in fact, I think I'm more bummed than they are! We've seen them work hard and we so badly want to reward them and yet, our hands are tied. And now it looks as if I have to take a cue from the 2 of them who are very much moving like "life goes on, we'll get one eventually". The only problem is, what I wanted, there isn't a "I'll get it eventually" promise attached to it. With a sigh, I was outbid for the concert tickets that I really wanted. Now before you go off and laugh or say something about how childish that sounds, that isn't the point of this post. Sure, I'm disappointed. But what I'm trying to get at here is how do we handle that disappointment? Let's talk about bigger things -- not disappointment, but absolute crushing blows. How do we handle that? I've heard our pastor say several times that anything we receive this side of hell is grace....stop and think about that for a second. No, I'm not talking about not getting the latest and greatest gaming system or having to deal with not getting to meet your favorite artist at a concert....think about the "bad" things that have happened in your life lately. Maybe it's a job loss...maybe it's the loss of a baby (as I'm constantly reading about from the MOMYS group I'm a part of)...maybe it's the loss of a loved one, or, more closer to home for us, the 1-year anniversary of the loss of a loved one. Our good friend, Krimson, passed away 1 year ago on March 6th. A dear friend at church yesterday told me of something that just boggles the mind -- a family member has had to bury her father recently and exactly 2 weeks later this past Thursday, suddenly lost her husband and is burying him today. Not just 2 deaths in 2 weeks -- 2 of what I'm sure were the most important men in her life (earthly speaking, of course) -- her dad and her husband, only 2 weeks apart. That would be an unbelievable blow in 2 years, much less 2 weeks! How do we look at these things and say that they're God's grace to us? How could we say cancer is God's grace? Think about it, though -- he's right. We've been talking a lot about God's sovereign choice in biblical election lately and that, if some of us are chosen, then it stands to reason that some of us aren't chosen. Even though we believe in election -- we believe that we are God's chosen people and that we were chosen before the creation of the world -- we still struggle with thinking "why am I chosen and others not?". (I'm not going to get into any more details about that right now but if you're interested more about what we believe about election and why, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to share with you.) Think about it -- what do we, just by being born sinful creatures, deserve? All of us from the moment of conception are sinful creatures, enemies of God. It's hard to look at your little ones (unless they're already toddlers! ha ha) and think that such a precious bundle of joy could be an enemy of the God that created him/her, isn't it? But, that's clearly taught in scripture -- we're born sinners and we deserve hell, plain and simple. So, God's sovereign choice in calling out His people isn't about Him not being "fair" to those who He has not called (do you REALLY want God to be fair when you, too, deserve hell?) -- election is about the Amazing Grace that He bestows on those of us whom He does call, whom He does save. (And God's sovereign choice in our election does not negate our responsibility to repent and believe and walk in faith but that's getting more into election than I have the time to share right now.) And that's how we can say that anything we receive -- pain, suffering, disappointment, loss, illness, death, etc -- anything we receive that isn't our eternal punishment in hell, forever separated from our God, is grace. Makes some things seem so trivial, doesn't it?