While at home in Kentucky this weekend for our son’s birthday, I received a call from the campsite back in Georgia that our RV (at the Stone Mountain Campground) had water pouring from the bottom and that a maintenance man had gone over and turned the water off. They just wanted to let me know. Well thanks! Here we were six hours away ready to return to Georgia the next day and we had no idea what we would return to. My mind immediately imagined water spewing all over the inside of our RV from some busted water line that had probably frozen over the weekend. Now I was faced with how to fix the problem and where we would live in the meantime. Over the next twenty-four hours I would eat very little, sleep even less and worry myself into a certain ulcer or near heart attack. Lisa (on the other hand) slept like a baby with a big grin on her face while visions of sugar plums and a brand new RV danced in her head.
I will finish that story in a moment.
I have learned something about myself. I am a worry-wart. At the age of fifty-four I find myself worrying about things far more than I ever have in my life. What is going on with me? It was always my understanding that retirement and growing older came with sage wisdom and a relaxed demeanor that should never allow little things to be given a second thought. Not me. I am becoming a basket case when things like this happen. But – I am learning.
As a Christian whose faith is shaped by the foundational creed to rest in the Lord and rely on God to see us through all things – I am actually embarrassed about this worrying problem. All the scriptures I have learned in my life have little impact on me in those moments of crisis – something in my brain just seems to switch on (or off) and I can’t think of anything but complete disaster. And what is most shocking is that everything always seems to turn out fine – in the end. You would think I would have learned this by now. Everyone at home said things would be fine. My son said I should not worry about it. My brother and sister in law (Paul and Donna) said everything would be fine. My daughter said it. I think my grand-son, Conner Jack, was saying it and he can’t even talk yet. Everybody said I should not worry and that everything would be fine. But that just did not help – I worried on.
There are different interpretations of scripture and Bible stories and I would like to share one of mine that some may disagree with but one that has helped me better understand my worrying dilemma. In the story of Lazarus you may remember that “a certain man named Lazarus was sick” (John 11: 1) and would later be declared dead by Jesus himself. In the story we learn that Lazarus sisters sent for Jesus before he died asking him to come and save him. But Jesus delayed – on purpose, I believe. From that point on in the story Jesus continues to tell the people Lazarus will rise from the dead – that Jesus would “awaken him”.
Now fast forward to Lazarus grave. Here the scripture says many were with the sisters to mourn “their brother” at his tomb when Jesus finally arrived. Jesus then tells the sisters, “Your brother shall rise again.” It is important to understand that Jesus knew what he was going to do – raise Lazarus from the dead. But all around him people were crying and mourning the loss – apparently either uninterested or simply not believing what Jesus was saying. Common interpretation of what happens next is that Jesus cried due to his being moved by everyone else crying and the sad situation he was witnessing. I disagree. Here is why.
Lets pretend that I am multi-millionaire (I said pretend). I am told that a family is about to lose their home and everything due to financial troubles. I then decide to give them enough money to bail them out of trouble and set them up for the rest of their lives. So – I go to them and find them crying and worrying and mad and upset and blaming me and others for their situation. All the while I know I am about to present them with the money. Why would I cry seeing this knowing what was about to happen? That is my dilemma with Jesus and Lazarus. I believe Jesus cried because they would not believe Him. Let me repeat: Jesus wept over the fact the people there would not take him at His word – not because he was simply emotional about the situation.
What does all that have to do with me? Everything! I am the person crying with Mary and the others at Lazarus tomb. I am the one that does not hear Jesus in times of trouble. I am the one that does not take Jesus at His word and believe Him. I am the one crying next to Jesus as he stands declaring resurrection. I am the one Jesus cries over. I am the one.
I am ashamed and sorry for my worrying. Who knows? Maybe all this will make me better able to handle the next crisis in my life. Perhaps my recognition of this problem is the first step in recovery. My name is Steve McFarland and I am worrier.
Now back to the RV. It was a long six-hour drive for me back to Stone Mountain. Lisa hummed and sang and talked about the new RV while I ran over and over in my mind what we may find when we returned. The image of frozen Niagara Falls came to my mind.
We finally arrived back at our campsite and opening the door realized water had saturated the carpets. The big question was what caused it and how to fix it. After turning the water back on – we found a gushing fountain flowing from a spot very near our door and following the flow and sound discovered the problem was in our water filtration system – something I had not even remotely considered. The filter canister had broken and water spewed into our living room area causing the carpets to become saturated. I was relieved – Lisa was disappointed – and after a good carpet cleaning and repaired water filter – all was well with the world.
In our travels – we have faced different crisis situations of one sort or another. It just seems to come with the territory. This crisis is over – but another one is on the horizon. In the meantime Lisa is still looking for that new RV and Jesus is still asking me to chill out. Today I find myself dealing with both of them.
Peace! Steve and Lisa