Early one morning at camp in Bolivia, I was lying in bed, body-weary and soul-discouraged.
We were in the middle of a big celebration for our camp’s 35th anniversary and I should have been happy. But I was cranky and complaining. All the hullabaloo for the event had done me in.
I wanted my apathy to switch into a party mood, but my feelings aren’t good at obedience.
Before I moved to get out of bed, my heart sighed a desperate prayer: Lord, please help me. I need some joy here.
Our room at camp was small, and our high double bed was built in against the wall, so to exit, I had to get out of my sleeping bag and roll over my husband.
I had done this maneuver many times through the years, but this time my flannel pajamas connected with his nylon sleeping bad like an inner tube on a snowy slope. Jake tried to grab me but his arms were zipped in his bag.
With a quick swoosh and a loud plop! I was lying on the hardwood floor.
Nice, I thought. Clever.
I began to chuckle, and then I was shaking, trying to muffle the full-on guffawing, totally enjoying the humor of that moment.
I still laugh remembering.
People in the rooms below and beside us heard those early morning sounds and wanted to know what happened.
Every time that day when I told the story I laughed. Hard.
It’s not every day that God answers a prayer so quickly.
And so creatively!
It was a joyful day.
That is a good story for me to remember because this morning I woke up with the heaviness of disappointment.
I am disappointed. With God. Forgive me, Lord, but it’s just that You aren’t doing what I want.
With others. How can they be so impatient, insensitive and unloving?
And with myself. How can I be so impatient, insensitive and unloving?
I mostly feel upset with myself.
Lord, please help me. I need some joy here.
One reason I love being a Christian is this: I can see my sin and stop blaming myself.
Yes, I am wrong to expect a lot of God, of others, and of myself. I am wrong to demand my way, to think I know and I am always right.
This is how I am. I hate it, but it is true.
No matter how hard I try I cannot get free from my selfishness. I cannot purge the ugly self-righteousness out of my heart. I cannot stop judging. God. Others. Myself.
All I can do is take my sin to Jesus.
“For me he died; for me he lives.” He forgives me and changes me.
I didn’t fall out of bed this morning. But I know God has granted me repentance and I fully expect some of his joy will come.
It always does.