It’s been one of those weeks where my son hasn’t been well and I’ve eaten garbage to satisfy my emotions. I am incredibly disappointed in myself.
Kamden began feeling ill late Monday and we were at the pediatrician’s office Tuesday afternoon. Kamden was diagnosed with the ultimate trifecta of toddlerhood: double ear infection, hand/foot/mouth virus, and cutting two molars. Monday night was incredibly difficult because Kamden had several night terrors, likely induced by illness and fatigue, and they were the most horrific thing I’ve witnessed as a parent. Helpless and scared doesn’t come close to what I felt when my son started screaming, his eyes open but he was not awake, and looking at me terrified. The more I tried to comfort him, the louder he wailed. After 15-20 minutes, he was finally to himself and relaxed.
Just as I was getting into a routine of daily exercise and healthy eating, Satan diverts my attention and attacks my family. He’s really good at this tactic. Regarding my health, yesterday started well, an omelet with spinach and mushrooms for breakfast, but got progressively worse for no other reason than I let my emotions take control. For lunch, I ate a big bowl of pasta (justified the choice because it contained chicken and vegetables) and I’m still miserable. Nicole, there are consequences to every decision you make. If you eat garbage, you feel like garbage.
Satan is devious, but this isn’t the first time he’s used calculated schemes or distracted faithful Christians.
When the Israelites were released from exile in Babylon, Satan diverted their focus. They got back to Jerusalem and immediately began tidying their homes while the previously magnificent temple laid in ruins. Haggai, a prophet (messenger) of God, had one task: encourage the Israelites to rebuild the temple. Though there was opposition from neighboring countries and fear of religious war, reconstruction efforts most likely stopped because people were afraid to be honest about their priorities and valued their personal property over a place to worship God. Besides, I think God was more interested in the heart conditions of the people than he was a brick-and-mortar structure. He wanted to confirm his followers’ devotion but, from the temple’s desolate state, their priorities did not match God’s will.
You say this isn’t the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what’s happening. You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don’t keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes. Think about what I have said! But first, go to the hills and get wood for my temple, so I can take pride in it and be worshiped there. ~ Haggai 1:2-8
While the Jewish people lived comfortably, God’s temple lay abandoned. They made every excuse to avoid rebuilding the temple and devoted their energy to self-promoting desires.
Just like Haggai encouraged the Jewish people to examine their priorities, I have to ask myself these tough questions: What is most important in your life? Where do you focus your time and energy? What are your priorities?
Materialism is an infectious disease in our consumer-driven society and the same can be said about the people in Haggai’s time. They sacrificed a divine relationship for temporary pleasure. Their pride was in stuff instead of God.
It took the Jewish people 20 years to reconstruct the temple and it might take me that long to rebuild mine, but I have pride in the process. God’s temple (my body) has not been a priority this week, but, thankfully, He continues to pursue me and sends people to encourage me. I had a bad day yesterday, but I have a new opportunity today and I’m going to make the best of it.