Steven has a mini basketball net that hangs from his door, into which he can throw a soft, mini basketball. For the most part, I don’t have a problem with this. It gives him a little indoors activity, and the location is such that he’s not going to hurt anything. In fact, the kids can close all of their bedroom doors and have a bit of a basketball game in the hallway. A little cramped, true, but fun nonetheless.
But for a while there was a problem. Someone had tied a cowbell to the hoop. Why, I have no idea, but it was there. So, every time one of the kids threw the basketball through the hoop, the cowbell would clang loudly.
Now, if you were right there when it clanged, it was very obvious what the noise was. But, from the other side of the house, it sounded as if some major disaster had just occurred! Every time I heard it clang, I just knew a shelf was falling off the wall or a whole load of clean dishes had come crashing down off the drying towel on the counter. The first few times the noise sent me running to investigate, yelling, “What happened?! Is everybody okay?” all the way. Finally I began to calm down and stopped racing through the house each time, although I would still jump at the noise. I would verbally remind myself that it was okay – it was just that exceedingly loud cowbell.
I finally did get smart and insist that the cowbell be removed from the hoop. But, as usual, the whole situation did make me stop and think about life.
How many times do we panic over what seems to be the ultimate disaster even before we really even know what’s going on? In all honesty, it’s pretty hard not to panic when life seems to be crashing down around us. All of our senses say that the lost job, the illness, the car accident, or the problem with a child or other loved one is the king of all disasters. It feels like the end of life as we know it, and we just can’t imagine any good coming out of it. Even more, if someone were to tell us it was not really a disaster after all, we’d have a very hard time believing it.
Yet we are told to not worry.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
You see, Jesus sees the truth. Where we hear and imagine the whole of life crashing down around us in an unresolvable tragedy, He sees a cowbell – the disrupting “noise” of life. He sees it as a training ground, teaching us to calm down and trust instead of running panicked through life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that sometimes that noise of life doesn’t hurt. It does. It can be so hard to deal with when we don’t know what’s really going on. We don’t know how God is going to provide in the midst of job loss. We don’t know that we’ll see earthly healing from the illness or injury. We don’t know the solution to the problems with our loved ones. It’s more than not knowing the source of a noise. It’s not knowing that source of a solution. The problem hurts. The waiting hurts. The not knowing hurts.
But, we have a Savior who knows. He knows exactly what the noise is and what the outcome will be. He knows the solution. And He knows the pain of waiting through it. He knows that there is fear, sadness, and uncertainty. And He tells us to rejoice, pray, and be thankful. Because He knows that in the scope of eternity it’s just a cowbell compared to the perfection that awaits us on the other side.