As the waves, crashed, and the wind whipped up all around us, the scene was gorgeous. The water was as blue as it could possibly be and the contrast of the white surges, splashing over the tops of the rocks was magnificent. We were hard pressed to find a spot with some shelter from the wind. We settled near by another family in a little alcove. We set up our camp near a large rock.
I watched my children race to dip their toes into the water. I thanked God for a great drive and asked for his blessing to rest on each of them. Looking at my husband, I could see the lines in his forhead begin to decrease as he dug his feet into the sand while wrestling rocks around to build a wall. “Thank you Lord for this man who loves his family and blesses us with spiritual wisdom and leadership,” I continued to pray over him…
My son came back to the blanket and noticed that there was some trash and something furry in the cleft of the rock we were up against. I thought, “Furry? That’s odd.” Then he continued to look harder and said “Mama, that looks like a skunk in there.” At first I thought he was being silly. But as I looked more intently, I realized he was right. I immediately sent him to tell his Dad. My husband checked out the situation, decided there was nothing to be alarmed about and said he thought the skunk was probably dead. I did not want to be near a skunk that may be sleeping or a skunk that may be dead. For a moment, I could feel myself wanting to totally freak out! I had to make a choice about how I was going to let this situation affect my day. My family and I chose to explore the rest of the area and the coastline rather than dwell on all the “what-ifs” about that skunk.
Watching the waves, hearing the roar of the ocean, watching my children play and seeing families run and smile and laugh together took my mind off the stinky little guy. As the day wore on we decided to pack up and head to a different beach to watch the sunset. We said goodbye to the skunk and thanked God that nothing came of that situation (I was sure that skunks are nocturnal and wondered if at sunset that little guy would come bolting out of the hole in the rock, spraying us for disturbing his sleep earlier in the day…).
As the night passed, we enjoyed the amazing beauty of the sunset. I loved seeing my husband run and play with our children, hiding in the high sea grasses of the sand dunes. As a mom, I felt great joy, as I wife I felt great pleasure in my husbands love for our family. I was proud and full of joy and love…I was so blessed.
Later, I was reminded of the day and the correlation of stinky little surprises in our own lives. Here we were surrounded by beauty, and majesty…and I could have allowed a skunk (dead or alive) to alter the joy we were all experiencing that day. That little surprise had no bearing on the majesty of God’s creation and yet, I could sense my anxiety about those what-ifs.
I thought about this in terms of tight financial times and other situations and surprises that appear in daily life. I could let those little surprises take over. If I do this, these situations seem to take on a life off their own and then they begin to seem larger than life. When this happens, I miss out on the bigger picture, and ultimately I miss out on the blessings that God has for me. If I focus on the potential problem, I give it too much value. I want to focus on what is going right. That little thing is nothing in the grand scheme of who God is as our Creator and King.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. James 1:2