The other night I went into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of juice. Chloe came in and said she needed to take some medicine before she went to bed. So, I set the juice on the counter and reached for her medicine bottle.
As I brought my arm back, I knocked the juice glass off the counter, where it fell and shattered on the floor. Juice and glass went everywhere.
Startled by the sound of the shattering glass and upset that juice had splashed on her "night-nights," Chloe started to back away.
Glass was on the floor all around her. She was barefoot and about to step onto a large shard.
"Chloe ... Chloe," I said.
She wasn’t listening. She was focused on everything but me. She was still backing away, edging ever-closer to that shard.
So, I did what any other loving parent would have done in that instance: I yelled at her.
"Chloe, stop! Don’t move!"
Maybe it was the volume of my voice or the urgency of my tone. Chloe stopped and stood perfectly still.
I had my boots on, so I walked across the glass, scooped her up and carried her to safety.
Later, I felt bad about yelling at her, but she wasn’t listening to me. I had to speak more forcefully to get her to focus on me so she would hear what I was telling her.
There were several times during Israel’s history when God did the same thing. Throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites turned from God. He tried to get them to turn back to him, but they continued on their self-destructive course.
After giving them plenty of time to turn back with gentle promptings, he finally raised "his voice" by allowing enemies to conquer them. This then caused the Israelites to turn back to God (Judges 2:11-19).
Sometimes that’s what hardship in our lives is: God raising his voice to get our attention. Some may ask why God would cause hardships. Doesn’t he love us?
Of course he does. That’s why he uses hardships to cause us to come back to him.
But the reason he even has to use hardships is often because of our stubbornness and unwillingness to listen. So really, the blame doesn’t rest with God, does it?
Are you experiencing hardships right now? Is it possible God’s using that as a way to get you to turn back to him, after his previous attempts at gentle correction have fallen on deaf ears?
The Rev. Parrish Myers is a local minister living in Braselton. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.