© Mary Elder-Criss
Ah!!!! Summer!! That glorious season is finally almost upon us. The season of vacation, relaxation, restoration of time! Long sunny days, and warm clear nights, when the stars always seem to shine brighter. Picnics, and barbecues, swimming and hiking, gooseberries on the vine, and tomatoes with warm summer skins, fresh out of the garden. Blooming flowers, and sunburnt noses on children. Eating watermelon on the back porch, and watching the kids have seed spitting contests. Kids on bikes, on scooters, in sandboxes, on swingsets. Who can not love this season?
Reality check. So far this spring, all it has done here is rain. And rain. And rain some more. Since the beginning of April until now, we’ve had about 2 days out of each week where it HASN’T rained. The enticing description of summer above has not yet come to pass. Instead, we have had days of children stuck in the house, the pool has not even yet been cleaned, no more readied for summer usage, and their bikes lean dismally against the side of the shed. Sandboxes, if left uncovered, resemble quicksand instead. No picnic blanket can be laid on the wet ground, the flowers are under attack from the cicada plague that is currently attacking the south east, and the tomato vines are turning yellow from blight. Instead of the kids shouting in play and fun, they are bickering and squabbling, and bemoaning the weather. “I’m soooooooo bored,” is now the catch phrase in my home.
When we have high expectations of a certain thing, and it doesn’t match up to what we imagined, or were familiar with, major disappointment can set in. I am disappointed that I have not been able to do the things with my family that I enjoy doing in the summer due to the weather. I find myself often expressing my disappointment in my children for arguing and bickering, as well. They are extremely disappointed in the weather and the days of being cooped up in the house, not able to run and play outside as they long to. When expectations aren’t met, and disappointment sets in, it is not long until we find resentment following along right behind it. . I resent those dumb locusts that are eating all my flowers, for sure. I resent the fact that I spent money on an above ground pool for my children this year and it seems as if they will not even get to use it. My children certainly resent me finding them work to do every time they mention how bored they are.
What then, are we to do when our sense of expectations doesn’t meet what is reality? Is it wrong to become disappointed or discouraged? Do we find ourselves lingering on the bad stuff, or can we still find our blessings?
In 2 Timothy 4:2, we are reminded to preach the word, to be ready in season and out of season. To convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Timothy is to preach the word with equal urgency when circumstances are favorable and when they are unfavorable. We should be the same. Regardless of our expectations, and how they measure up to reality, God and His goodness does not change. Whether the sun is shining brightly, or whether the rain is falling, He is the same all seasons. We are to remember His goodness regardless of whether the situations around us are favorable or not, and we are to share the goodness of Him with others, in season, or out.
We should remember to be longsuffering, and pray for each other. Patient, and ready to forgive one another, for our shortcomings. Disappointment happens. We are not perfect, so we are bound to fail each other occasionally. But resentment can be stopped. Resentment against each other can often lead to resentment towards God. Regardless of whether we understand why things happen, we should always remember that God allows them to happen for a reason. Before you let your disappointment turn into resentment, remember that to every season there is a purpose, and strive to find ways to fulfill what that purpose may be. Remember that all things work together for good to them that to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28) Find joy in all seasons, spiritual and natural. Go dance in the rain, let it cleanse your soul, and join my children and I as we splash joyfully through some mud puddles.
Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again I will say, rejoice! Phil. 4:4
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Mary, I loved the way you made us snap back to reality with your "reality check"! Very effective. Lord, help us all have positive attitudes no matter what we face this summer!
Amen Mary! We haven't had that rain down here in Texas but sure could use some. It is part of our human nature to experience disappointment. For the spiritual believer we have hope in a future of eternal peace. I don't know if it rains in heaven but I hope there is a corner that does. I have such fond memories of playing in the rain as a child. -Patrick
We are under the same weather here in GA. This gave me a clear picture of how I could be responding if I choose to. Thanks for the reminder!