"If we threw all our problems into a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back."
I don't know who said this, but I saw it on Pinterest (imagine that!). I think it's very true. The grass isn't always greener on the other side, actually I don't think it ever is. Anytime we pursue a life other than the one laid out for us by God, we will surely be disappointed. I know I would choose my problems over someone else's if I were to trade places for any amount of time.
I was reminded of this quote today as I witnessed an interesting situation in my neighbor's front yard. As I was waiting for our Apple TV to update so that anxious Lily could watch Elmo for the 482 time today, I heard a ruckus going on outside. Of course, like any nosy neighbor, I just barely opened the blinds enough to see what it was all about. The oldest daughter was having a screaming fight with her mother, calling each other names and using profane language. The younger brother was outside, trying to get his sister to get in her boyfriends car and leave so the fight would temporarily end. The dad was a silent witness to the mess.
Two weeks ago, something similar happened to my in-law's neighbors...the cops were called, and people were arrested. It's a pretty funny story and I was secretly hoping for the same.
The youngest brother finally gave his sister a push and she got in her boyfriend's car and they stormed off.
What I saw next broke my heart and I didn't care anymore for a funny story, facebook status, or tweet. What I cared about was the heart of God. "Break my heart for what breaks yours"...lyrics from my all-time favorite worship song by Hillsong.
The dad sat down, buried his head in his hands, and wept. He stood up, but apparently the emotional toll on his body was too much and he bent over and wept some more. It was all I could do to not run outside and do something. Maybe I should have, but I didn't feel comfortable since I hardly know him and I don't know the situation. If it had been the mom, maybe I would have been more inclined to do it. Instead, I just prayed for him as I watched out the window.
God softened my heart and the Holy Spirit convicted me. How selfish it was of me to watch someone else's heartbreaking problems and hope for a funny story. Instead, I need to hope for God's love to transform this family. I need to be on my knees praying for them and asking God to show me how to extend His love to them.
"But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." Acts 26: 16-18