Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Trouble at Wal-Mart

Broken.  That's how my heart felt, sitting in the urgent care clinic with Little Bit, my baby girl with a swollen finger, possibly broken, too.

"What's wrong with your little one?" asked the receptionist.

"Minivan door.  It slid down on her finger."  Feeling dejected, I looked down at the clipboard and finished filling it out.

Picking up Little Bit, I returned the clipboard to the receptionist and sat to wait until our name was called.

She sat on my lap and held her hand up with fingers extended.  Her index finger on her right hand was twice as large as the one on the left.

It all had happened so fast.  We were at Wal-Mart, just Little Bit and me; on a little outing with her mommy.  I grabbed my purse and went to the other side of the van to get Little Bit out.  Sliding the the door open, I reached over to hit the automatic lock button.  There.  All locked up.

I took the baby out of her seat and pulled on the door to slide it shut.  As I turned to go, she reached her hand out and before I could stop it or pull her away, the door caught her finger.

I was ready for an avalanche of tears, but she didn't cry at all.

Maybe the finger wasn't stuck.  A little tug. Oh, yes it was.  Little Bit began to cry.

All the doors were locked.  The baby's finger was stuck and so was I.

My key-less entry button on my keys didn't work, and there was only one way to open the doors once locked--the driver's side door.  On the other side of the minivan.

My heart was racing, and I couldn't calm down. I breathed in through my nose for a count of seven and slowly exhaled out of my mouth.  I needed to be calm, to stay in control.  I had to think.  But, what could I do?  She was stuck.  There was nothing I could do.

Deep within me, came a cry, louder than I thought I possible, "Help, help!  My baby!  Please, somebody, help me!"

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man running toward me.  He was a young man with skin the color of brown sugar.

I handed him my keys.  "Baby's finger is stuck...can't unlock the door on this side."

He sped to the other side of the van and shuffled with the keys until he found the right one.  I shook my head no.  My door was still locked.  He went into the van and manually unlocked it.

Free.  I held my baby close.  The young man handed me the keys as I breathed a prayer.  Then he ran off.  I didn't even get his name.

By now, Little Bit's finger was swelling and so was her crying.

Back into the van.  Forget Wal-Mart, we're going to the urgent care clinic.

On the way there, my adrenaline level was at an all-time high.  Little condemning thoughts kept on antagonizing me.  It's all your're a terrible mother...she'll be scarred for life...

Then I remembered who I am.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I parked the car at the clinic. 

Self-contempt doesn't have a chance with a heart resting in God's grace. 

The doctor asked if our car had a door sensor that stopped it when it detected something in the way. 

"No, no sensor." 

More condemning thoughts trickled in, but this time about others.  Car companies care more about money than people's safety...big business is just corrupt like's all about the Benjamins...

Aw, shouldn't go there either.  It would only steal my peace and who am I to judge? 

There is only One Righteous Judge (Isaiah 33:22), only He knows our thoughts and our hearts.

And, what about the guy who helped me unlock the door?  He probably wouldn't have been the first person I would have asked for help.  I prefer asking a person who is in uniform.  It feels safer.  But, the person I least expected was my hero.

And that's it.

I am in no place to judge people's hearts.

Only God knows.  Really.

We are all broken people with broken lives in need of lots of grace.

He is Sovereign over us.  Far above our inadequacies, our insecurities, our pettiness, our prejudices.

And, He loves us.  He didn't have to rescue any of us from the judgement and wrath of God against sin.

But, He did.  Praise God!  He did!  He did it on the cross where He took our sins, our shame, and gave us His grace and His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

The thing is, we'll always be a little bit broken.  We'll never be in a place where something in our lives doesn't need fixing.  And, though it seems like we're in control sometimes, we're really not.

If we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and keep going forward with this hope: 

It's not gonna always be like this. 

Then we will have peace.

One day Christ will return, and He will make all things new (Revelation 21).

Until then, we can wait and rest in His grace, releasing control to His holy Sovereign will and thanking Him for the little things like an unsung hero and soft bones that didn't break (her finger was okay).

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)