Thatís right... spilled cereal, not ďspilled milk.Ē See, I was out of milk and didnít have the money to buy any. As a matter of fact, I was out of a whole lot of things. But most of what I was out of were the things money canít buy. My afflictions went much farther than an empty milk jug.
I stood over the cabinet, pouring dry cereal into a bowl. It was after midnight and I was forcing myself to eat my one and only meal of the day. I just couldnít bring myself to eat any earlier, though I knew I needed to. Dry cereal isnít such a bad thing. But when itís all you have, for some reason, it seems a little less appetizing.
Zipping the zip-lock cereal bag shut, I managed to hit the bowl with the edge of the bag, spilling the off-brand apple cinnamon rings to the floor.
I stood there, just staring at the cereal on the floor. My only reaction was to sigh and then pour myself more cereal. I walked out of the kitchen and made the floor wait on me to eat before I cleaned it up.
What could I do? I could cry about it. I could curse and clean it up. I could get really mad at God and demand that He be a better provider. (Yeah, right! Like Iíd really ďdemandĒ Him to do something!) Or I could seek counsel in His Word and from the Comforter.
Well? What would you do? Would you waste tears on situations you were helpless to do anything about? Surely you wouldnít curse or get mad at God! Or, at least, Iíd like to think you wouldnít.
I took my bowl of dry cereal and sat down with the Word. I opened to Psalm 119:57-80.
Would you like to know how I maintain my hope, even when a little money isnít going to fix my problems? Well, first you have to read Psalm 119:57-80. Then, you might understand how I do it. Or maybe not. It depends on whether you ask God to open your understanding to the scriptures or whether you lean on your own understanding.
All I really know to tell you is that God is truly, truly, truly near to the broken hearted. Heís always there in the middle of our mess. He draws nigh to us because we draw nigh to Him. Thatís not just what His Word says, thatís who He IS!
I do remember crying over a lack of catsup though. My goodness, that was twenty years ago! I had more mouths to worry about than just my own and I certainly didnít know the things I know now.
I was down to half a bag of potatoes. Thatís it... just potatoes. Okay, so I had some oil too. I fried those for my daughter and I skipped supper that night.
I laid them in front of her and she asked, quite innocently, ďCan I have some catsup?Ē She didnít complain about potatoes being the only thing on her plate. It didnít even phase her. She just wanted some catsup.
That day passed. Things got better. And as for the spilled cereal, things are going to get better. As for those things money canít buy for me, well, things are going to get better too. This too shall pass. I know that because I drew near to God. In doing so, He drew near to me. Itís real hard to explain what happens when the Comforter draws near to you, but I can leave you with this:
I have gathered all my strength
for the uphill climb.
I know the path is smoother,
if I can get to the other side.
Iíve walked this mount before.
I know its twists and turns.
I know its end is brighter, for
my heart within me burns
to finish the task with vigor,
knowing I do not walk alone.
Iím on my way to fulfill
the things He has made known
to me as I meditate
on His merciful direction,
as my heart pants for the Light
of my Fatherís divine affection.