“I just wanted you to know the curse continues. My husband hasn’t even left our airspace and the AC unit died.”- A few phone call from a few days ago
What curse, you ask? The Home Alone Curse. The curse that emergencies always seem to happen when there isn’t anyone- particularly husbands- around to help. Simply asking what trials have occurred in a husband’s absence can keep women chatting for hours. I’ve learned never to use this question as an ice-breaker at military functions. While the men go through who works where and when they last deployed, the women’s conversations sound like: “One kid had the flu, I had to drive myself to the hospital in early labor and I got a flat on the way.” “The washing machine exploded and flooded the house. I had to unpack a box to find something to bail water with.” “We arrived back from Panama but our goods took another 12 weeks to arrive. I slept on an air mattress for the last trimester.” “We have a membership discount at the ER.” My own personal conversation starter is, “The very first night after my husband left for training at Fort Benning, the apartment building burned to the ground.”
From fires to labor, these “I wish you were here” moments create additional frustrations. It’s an interesting phenomenon; when I was single I was certainly frustrated by having to handle crisis moments alone, but now that I have a Godly husband to do things with it seems harder when he is absent. No matter how legitimate the reason, the feeling that someone should be there to help and isn’t makes things seem a bit worse.
This feeling of helplessness and wondering when God will show up is nothing unusual- in fact, throughout the Bible we see God-believing, faith filled people wonder where God is or why he doesn’t act! It is easy to see the greater plan being worked in their lives, but in the here and now it is easy to feel alone in times of trouble. I often find comfort in the verses about God being an ever-present help in times of trouble to comfort, protect, and provide but I can’t help but notice there are dozens of “How long, oh Lord?”s and moments where God seems silent when his people need help. Waiting until all hope is lost to swoop in and save the day is great for comic books and movies, but sometimes this damsel in distress could do without the dramatic pause. Sadly, this is often right where God wants me to make it clear that HE is the one who is capable of saving the day. I may know that in my head and heart, but when the adrenaline is pumping because my son is bleeding, glass is shattering, water is leaking, and the baby has pooped out 5 outfits on a 24 hour trip, I could use some tangible help.
So what to do during the crisis? Well, crying out to God is a great first step no matter what the situation. (However, I am guilty of wishing a legion of angels could swoop down and help me out and feeling annoyed when the disaster continues.) In the Army world, that is when we call for earthy back-up. After surgery I have been physically buddy-carried down a flight of stairs and driven to another home to recover. I’ve watched children for others and they have watched mine. We make meals. We visit hospitals.We HELP each other.
That is precisely what the Body of Christ is supposed to do for one another. We are supposed to be the one who swoops in to save the day, carrying each others’ burdens and learning plumbing 101 on the job.
Yesterday I said to a friend, “People without trials don’t have good stories. I want to be the best story-teller at the nursing home.” Think about it—what were the biggest struggles you have faced? I’m willing to bet they are the very situations that shaped you. This has been a very challenging season for me, but I can already see growth and tremendous change that is occurring from it.
Here’s the interesting thing though: It doesn’t always feel like God is there. Yep, I went there. Sometimes my very present help it time of fear seems thousands of miles away and I am tempted to think I am all alone. I have to constantly remind myself that God works all things together for my good and that God intends for goodness and mercy to follow me. When things are out of control, I have to remember God is in control—even when it doesn’t feel like he is.
When budgets have to readjust because paychecks are smaller due to the Sequester, God is in control. When Mary and Martha grieved over their brother, the source of protection and income, God had a plan.When young soldiers die and leave their young wives as widows, God is still good.When babies have disabilities and the doctors suggest abortion, God has a perfect plan.
When the dinner topic is, “Honey, I may be deploying in a few days and not a few months”, God’s timing is perfect.When the dinner topic is, “Honey, God said we’re moving but I don’t know where we are going yet.” God will take care of you. (Is that Old Testament or current day military life?)
God doesn’t have emergencies. God has opportunities to show what he can do. Still, I struggle to remember that. I have to repeat these truths to myself constantly so my circumstances don’t overpower my certainty.
Honestly, when emergencies happen and my husband is gone, it is usually for a reason that I support. He was overseas serving his country lighting struck the house and shorted out all the electronics. He was laid over in an airport when I was in labor. He was in training during car wrecks and when appliances broke down. He was where he was supposed to be, but I still wished he could be there with me. It often feels that way with Christ. He is in Heaven, preparing a place for us. He is waiting for the day he will rescue His followers; He is preparing for battle and praying for us until then. Jesus is right where he should be, but I still long for His return.
Then again, despite our frequent separations, my husband has been here during many clutch moments and saved the day. He is my hero. Even when I can’t feel or see him, I can cling to his words and know what he would want me to do. I am encouraged by memories and hopes for the future. I am honored that he has entrusted so much to my care. It is the same way with Christ.
I am so guilty of thinking God isn’t ‘paying attention’ to my needs and feeling frustrated when his aid doesn’t come in the form or time I desire. I get burdened with sorrow and frustration when life is painful. As I felt burdened this morning, I looked over at Firstborn struggling to reach a sippy cup that had dropped behind furniture. He reached from every angle, climbed on top of the table, and tried everything he could think of while I watched and encouraged him to try again. Finally he came to me, took me by the hand, and led me to his problem. As I reached the cup and showed him how to retrieve the cup, I realized that sometimes God does the same thing. He gives me space to face my problems so that I can learn how to handle things that he gives me and to come to him when I can’t handle things alone. He gives me trials to grow. He gives me struggles to help me be disciplined and faithful. He provides for me- often in the form of amazing friends two are ready in case of emergency.
You don’t have to handle things alone. We CAN’T! Be someone’s hero today. Be Christ’s hands, feet, elbow, or person running in with a much-needed tire iron or plunger. Help really can be ever-present. Remember that God is there, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency, but don’t forget to go to the throne before you go to the phone.