Sometimes God makes me laugh to get my attention. Once it happened in the middle of the night.
I had woken up with unrelenting heartburn. I hate waking up in the middle of the night, because my brain often wants to veer off into thinking negatively about circumstances real or imagined that could happen or are happening to people who I love; people I’m acquainted with; or even just strangers’ situations I’ve heard about.
I was breathing deeply, raised up on my pillow, attempting to pray and trying to count my blessings without enumerating the “yes, but” for each one of them. Suddenly, a thought from nowhere entered my consciousness.
“Trouble … sparks.”
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“Trouble … sparks rise … or fly?”
I had read enough scripture to know that I’d gotten a smidgen of a Bible verse stuck halfway. But what was it?
Trouble sparks a raging fire? No, that’s the tongue.
Troubles rise to God like sparks?
Yeah, I liked that. I could maybe go to sleep on that one. … But nooooo. That’s, our prayers like incense rise to God. Arghhh.
I knew I was going to have to get up to see what it was that I was half remembering. I decided while I was at it to take some antacid as well and get it all over with. There was no way I’d get back to sleep with the heartburn and the hangnail of a misremembered Bible verse. I’d be picking at it all night.
I searched my concordance and finally found the verse. It was in the book of Job. Oh. Great. Job’s not exactly a bedtime story. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong. I turned to the chapter, and the heading told me it was one of Job’s supposed comforters speaking.
Oh, please. My shoulders slumped. I knew I was doomed. How much worse could it get? What hopeless verse did I have stuck in my brain?
So I read Job 5:7.
“Man is born unto trouble; as the sparks fly upward.”
Lovely. Thank you, God. Just what I needed.
And then I started to laugh. I could see how ridiculous my attitude was. It was as if I was looking at a beat-down cartoon character. I couldn’t have been given a more pointed reminder that my fretting was not going to change anything.
That troubles are ahead cannot be denied. No doubt about it. And I must be faithful, not fretful.
I went back to bed chuckling with a light heart, trusting in God’s goodness and thankful for his good humor.
Anne Krause, one of The Star’s Faith Walk writers, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.