It happened this morning. We were out picking blackberries near to our home. I picked one and it slipped from my grasp. Down it went and into the undergrowth. It was gone. How good it would have been to have that blackberry to add to my collection. I can see it now falling. But how much should I be frustrated? How much should I grieve over the lost blackberry?
Which raises the question what should I get frustrated about and what should grieve me? One lost blackberry does not compare with the loss of a friend through death.
One of the key ways we mess up life is by not getting things in perspective. We over-value the trivial and under-value the eternal. We fret and grieve over the inconsequential and ignore even despise that which should really matter.
One continual desire and prayer we should have is to have a right perspective on things. One discipline we need in order to achieve this is to get distance. In the heat of the moment something may matter with a vengeance. But get some time to distance yourself from the event then you start to get perspective. Although, I would have liked that blackberry to add to my collection; it would be madness for me to go into a sulk as a result.
I go back to one other thing that most certainly mattered at the time. But why Philip? It was only over some Christmas wrapping paper. Christmas Eve it was, sometime ago, and May Lin was not so keen on me using it. And I got so annoyed. Why did she need to be so restrictive over a bit of wrapping paper? A friend relating an argument with his wife in the supermarket over some purchasing of mint sauce has also come to mind as I have pondered this matter. Such trivial things, but at the time they can seem so big.
But Philip, what a fool, getting so upset over that. Just trivial really, just some wrapping paper and yet I was so agitated. Mercifully, in the Lord’s good provision I was able to withdraw and get some perspective. But it took a little while.
So where does that leave me?
- I am a wretched man. These little occurrences remind me of Paul’s perplexity in Romans 7 which is summed up in the statement What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Rom 7:24)
- Satan will seek any means to get in and seek to destroy marriages and in fact any relationship. We need to be always on our guard. Moreover, Satan loves us to concentrate on the things that do not matter. We need to be aware of his devices.
- I need always to be in prayer. I should never go into any situation without consciously having committed all into His hands in prayer.
- I am reminded of the bride in Song of Solomon 2:17 Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom. It is so often the little foxes that come in to eat away at relationships so that they are spoiled. We need to be on our guard. Indeed our lives can be wrecked by a failure to properly deal with the small issues. And generally we deal with them properly by making sure they do not fester in our lives and relationships. When little foxes hang around they can do a lot of damage.