In our economy, the pecking order is set up something like this – the bigger you are, the more (and the harder) you peck. Conversely, the smaller you are, the more likely you are to get pecked.
So it’s been for endless ages throughout human history, much to the chagrin of all parents who must deal with such fallout from the Garden of Eden, although it must be admitted that there is less ‘pecking’ now that the largest of the troop has moved off the reservation and onto the campus at ‘Beffel College.’
However. That leaves his next-younger brother who is possessed of such natural quickness, instincts, reflexes, and creativity as to make 10 mothers’ heads spin and twice that many younger siblings run. Here’s one small example from a post-church ride home just prior to Christmas.
Mr. Schrock: “Where was So-and-So (a friend) today?”
Me: “He’s home sick. He hardly ever gets sick. We need to be praying that we all stay healthy before, during, and after our trip (with all the Schrocks) to Tennessee.”
At that, I began to pray out loud on the passenger’s side in my heated leather seat. “Dear Lord, please protect us and keep us healthy before our trip and while we are there. Keep us strong and healthy after we come back, too.” Then, bringing it in for a landing, I added, “And all God’s people agreed in prayer and said…”
From the driver’s side, Mr. Schrock chimed in, “Amen!” From behind me, the teenager chipped in. “Amen!” From the back seat, crickets chirped.
Then the teenager, with mock indignation in his voice, said, “Hey! Not all God’s people said, ‘amen!’” And so commenced a pounding and thrashing from the back two seats with significant screeching and hollering from the 12-year-old peck-ee.
Lucky for them, their father chuckled. Not surprisingly, their mother hee-hawed. And so they both lived to see another day.
The good news here is that even though “not all God’s people said it,” that particular prayer was answered beautifully. With 28 of us under one roof, that Tennessee cabin could have morphed into a sick ward. Instead, in an act of grace, the good Lord kept nearly all of us going like a fleet of Energizer bunnies. We gave thanks.
Personally, I continued giving thanks long after the holidays were over. For weeks, I’d heard the complaints on Facebook. Entire families were coming down with the crud. Schools were reporting large numbers of students missing, sidelined by illness, and all winter long, I marveled that it had passed us by.
Then it began. Boy Two, our Tornado in Blue Jeans, started to drag. Tornadoes, we know, don’t “drag.” They – well, they do that tornado thing. And he most definitely was not doing “that tornado thing.” Rats.
By Monday night, it was Little collapsed on the couch, looking pink. Sure enough. The thermometer crept up, and then there were two.
“Two down,” I opined to my Facebook friends. “Praying no more will go. F. Nightingale suit getting wrinkled.”
For four days, The Tornado languished. Just as I felt he was ready to go back to school, Boy Three turned pink, the thermometer crept up, and then there were three.
“Seuss expert #3 is down for the count. Florence (as in Nightingale) is on site, wielding juice, Popsicles, Motrin, and a thermometer.” Friends offered prayers.
Meanwhile, with College Kid home for his not-so-spring break, I was feeling out of kilter, off my stride as the laundry piled up, the back door once again slammed at all hours, and someone looking suspiciously like the CK invaded my coffee beans. It was impossible, I noted silently, to walk anywhere without stepping on a sickie or the CK’s clothes.
In the worst of it, overwhelmed and miserable, Little would come. “Mama,” he would cry, clutching his blanket, “I need to sit on you!”
It was this request, this cry for comfort from my small, feverish boy that gripped my heart. “I need to sit on you.”
Wasn’t I, too, overwhelmed and miserable, exhausted from the emotional strain and the topsy-turvy schedule in addition to carrying the normal workload? Hadn’t the enemy rushed in like a flood, stirring up trouble and sowing discord in this time of weakness?
Hadn’t I felt isolated, alone, and depleted with little to give? Yes. I had. So much so, in fact, that I’d stayed beneath the covers, unable to muster what it took to rise early and trot off, backpack slung over my shoulder, to begin a fresh column. Instead, it was late when I finally settled at a small table at the coffee shop and turned to God’s Word for solace.
“Jesus, I need to sit on You!”
Sometimes, in the midst of stress and strain, turmoil and exhaustion, “sitting on Him” is all we are able to do. Just as Little’s cry summons Mother’s resources, attention, and affection, so, too, our cry summons His.
Are you weary? Discouraged? Defeated? There’s room on His lap for you. Come and sit, won’t you?