Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Longest Hour at McDonald's

McDonald's.  A plastic playground crawling in germs and swimming in carbs.  The originator of happiness in a cardboard box and plastic toys that are neatly placed in the circular file as soon as you hit the door.

It's also the place I spent an hour on my knees completely relying on the Lord on Saturday.

Let me back up. Our family is enjoying watching 5 year old soccer Saturday morning.  My hubby's phone rings and he answers it.

"Mr. Carbajal?  This is Captain E calling from Alaska.  Your son, Jade, is in ICU."

"Excuse me?  Who is this?  What did you say?"

"Your son has some broken bones around his right eye.  He is in ICU and we are unaware of the severity of his injuries.  Depending on the severity, the Army will fly you and his mom to Alaska.  I'll call you in an hour."

"Huh?! OK, I'll wait to hear from you."

I got the gist of the entire conversation as I watched my husband's coffee-colored, sweet face drain of color.  He plunked himself down on the grass and repeated all he had been told.  My questions flew out of my mouth faster than he could process them. 

Even in the midst of potential heartache, the kids' stomachs were rumbling.  So where do we go?  The loudest, most crowded, most obnoxious place on the face of this God created planet - McDonald's.

We woodenly distributed out nuggets and fries, smiling somewhat blankly at child requests of "more, please!".  I checked my watch praying for the minutes to fly by, seconds agonizingly slow.  I tried to engage Mario in conversation, tried to get his feelings, gauge his stress level.

I couldn't take another moment perched on the edge of the sticky plastic seat.  I marched to the not-so-clean public restroom and hit my knees.  I do admit to checking the floor first.  It may be shallow but have you ever seen the floor?!  Anyway . . .

I spent that time praying, crying out to my Sweet Lord.  Begging Him to protect my son's life, his health, his vision, his brain.  Asking for a "it looks worse than it really is" prognosis.  Asking Him to provide the doctors with wisdom regarding his medical treatment.  Praying for a swift recovery.

After all that, I was honestly able to ask the Lord to give each of us a peace that surpasses all understanding, that we would be able to glorify Him in every single moment, and that we would not only accept His will for the situation but that we would be able to inscribe His will upon our hearts.

I walked out of the Ladies' room a different person, a different heart.  I have never had to rely on the Lord in that way.  I'm 3,000 miles away from my adult son lying alone in an ICU room with unknown injuries.  I'm waiting, hanging by my fingernails to hear from Captain E.

I am utterly helpless. 

Nothing to plan or control.  Nothing to do.  Nothing to say.

Just wait.  Wait.  And wait.

The waiting finally ends.  He is OK!  No permanent damage.  No surgery needed. 

Thank you God.  Thank you for his health and life.  Thank you for Your care and infinite concern for each of us.  Thank you for the opportunity to REALLY rely on You with my whole heart surrendered. 

Thank YOU for meeting me there in that sticky, icky Ladies' Room.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Eat Some Grass!

The root of all sin - PRIDE - can reduce each of us to eating grass.  Grass? you ask.  GRASS.

King Nebuchadnezzar ate some serious grass.  He was one of the most powerful rulers in all of the world.  God gave him control of Babylon in 605 B.C.  The king was responsible for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, conquering of other nations, and a prosperous, imposing kingdom.  In Daniel 5:18-19, Daniel reminds King Darius of King Nebuchadnezzar's status:

 . . . the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor.  Because of the high position He gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him.  Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.

Nebbie was a powerful man but only through God's hand.  Daniel 1:2 says that God gave Nebbie victory over Judah and even allowed him to take precious, sacred articles from the Temple of God.  The entire book of Daniel proves God's control, His power, His "running of things".   Through the first few chapters, King Nebuchadnezzar refuses to lay down his pride and will and admit the sovereignty of the True God.

Even after several warnings, the king continues to boast of his own accomplishments.  He even says, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" (4:30).  God's action is swift and immediate.  Nebbie is removed from his crown, his position, his people.  He is driven into the fields and eats grass like a cow, has hair as long as eagles' feathers and his nails are like birds' claws.  Nebuchadnezzar is insane for seven periods of time.

Now, I don't know about you, but I can not imagine a slice of Pride Pie being worth all that.  Wandering around a field munching on grass acting like a cow?  Separated from people, things, and most importantly, sanity? 

I have never had to partake of a grassy cuisine due to an inflated sense of self.  However (and that is a BIG however), God has reached me in other ways.  Many times friendships I held too dear to my heart were removed from my life.  Maybe I was placing too much importance on the friendship and pleasing the friend instead of HIM.  Other times responsibilities and positions I coveted were removed or never given because I had a desire to "do it all and for my own glory".  Not HIS glory but my own pitiful self.  Another time, I suffered physically because I was unwilling to slow down and seek HIS will first.  Or other instances where I just KNEW that I could do whatever it was under my own gumption, strength, ability, and desire.  You know how that ended, right?
The list could go on and on.  The point is if we act like a donkey's behind and revel in pride and self, then God may allow us to eat some kind of humbling "grass" to remind us of His desire to instruct and train us (Psalm 32:8-9).  If we can adjust our attitude of one that is humble and seek HIS kingdom and righteousness first the unnecessary pain and judgement of HIS correction can be minimized.

Be hopeful!  King Nebbie looked up to heaven, his sanity returned and He praised and worshipped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.  When the king's ability to recognize the power and sovereignty of the Lord returned, so did his honor and glory and kingdom.

We, too, can return from the grass-filled pasture.  Turn our eyes off of our selves and look to HIM.  Remove whatever crown Pride is wearing in our lives and allow the true King to sit on the throne of our hearts.

"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven.  All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud." Daniel 4:37