Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Desert Plant in Suburbia

Then God said to Jonah, "What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?"

Jonah said, "Plenty of right. It's made me angry enough to die!"

God said, "What's this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night.
-- Jonah 4:9-11 (The Message)
I was reading through Jonah this morning, and got God's holy 2x4 of conviction smacked across the back of my skull. I've had that uncomfortable sensation before, but this time it felt like a shade tree from the deserts of Assyria.

Here I sit in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., in one of the richest counties in arguably the richest nation in the world. I'm a computer programmer for a defense contractor. I have a beautiful, intelligent, and loving wife, and an adorable, fun daughter. A nice comfortable house, two cars, and more old electronics equipment than I'd care to admit.

And time after time I find myself in grumbling mode. Grumbling to God that something isn't the way I want it. Termites crawling around out back. Grumble. Daughter gets a cold. Grumble. Two-hour meeting. Grumble. Then God gives me perspective.

A blog entry: Great Ways to Become Poor and Stay Poor, Item #8 : Be born in the third world.
A news article: Swat Refugees Facing Dire Hardships. Pakistani civilians are being severely affected by the war on terror.
There is no running water, no electricity, and food is scarce. There is no fuel left for generators and most medical facilities in the district are no longer functioning.
I must ask myself. What did I do to be born in the U.S.? To be raised in northern Virginia? I'm worried about inconveniences when there are millions in real need.

God, thank you for the blessings you have given me, from your grace alone. I deserve none of this. Thank you more so for humbling me. Carve out that grumbling heart and mind of mine and replace it with one of gratitude, and generosity.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Good reminder that we need to be thankful in always in every situation.