Insurance for Job

After dealing with various insurance agents all week, I have now come to the conclusion that we should just sell all of our belongings and go live in a tent on a deserted island.  Apparently there are 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the South Pacific, and that’s only because some poor guy got tired of counting.  We could just pick an uninhabited island and show up, although we might land on shore only to be greeted by the Aflac duck, seeking to insure us from the hazards of falling coconuts.

Insurance agents are always concerned about risks, but they never seem to be too worried about the fact that I have three young kids, including two boys who make a team more formidable than a cyclone.  I risk my life every time I turn a corner in our house and delve into an unknown landmine field of toys.

Just last night I was cooking dinner at the stove, when I stepped back onto my four-year-old’s train set.  Even while I feared for my life, I was briefly impressed that PlaySkool trains have even better velocity than Amtrak.  Then again, Amtrak trains don’t rappel you towards the top of a flight of stairs while holding a scalding pot of meatball soup.

Insurance agents are far too worried about an ACT OF GOD, when they should be  more concerned with an ACT OF CHILD.  They are more anxious about the improbability of a random asteroid hitting my house than they are with the very real probability that I could break my leg on a Matchbox car at any moment.

People who lived during biblical times did not have to worry about insurance.  No premiums, no deductibles, no claims.  We know this because there’s no way they would have let Mary, a nine-month pregnant woman, ride on a donkey.

I can just hear the insurance agent harassing Noah for attempting to build the ark.

AGENT:  Let me get this straight; it’s going to rain for forty days and nights, and you have no flood insurance?  You’re in a flood zone, for crying out loud.

NOAH:  Actually, the whole earth is a flood zone right now.

AGENT:  You realize you won’t be able to file a claim when this is all over.

NOAH:  When this is over, you won’t be able to file a claim either.

AGENT:  What’s that supposed to mean?

NOAH:  Oh, nothing.  Was that a raindrop?  Gotta go!

And how about David, about to attack Goliath without any personal liability insurance?

AGENT:  You’re going to attack HIM?  You could get sued!  A crazy guy like that could totally lose his head.

DAVID:  Hey, now there’s an idea…

Then there are some people, like Job, who just seem uninsurable.

Job was a righteous man who once had it all.  He had a huge number of servants and livestock.  His house could have been destroyed by the thousands of sheep and oxen, but he also had ten children, including seven boys.  Not even State Farm would have been there for Job.  Especially not after Satan started inflicting one disaster after another, causing Job to lose his family, his house, and his health.

During this time, Job’s three “friends” came to commiserate and offer their sage advice.  Unfortunately, their advice was about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane.

Bummer, Job.  Guess you should have bought that insurance after all, hahaha.

The only one who was really there for Job through it all was God.

Job 42:10,12

the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had  before…The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.

Excuse me?  Who would take a chance on someone who has already lost everything?

That’s exactly what God did when He decided to sacrifice His son for us.  He gave us free will, knowing the risks involved with our human nature.  Being omniscient, God saw the potential for disaster and wisely set up the very first insurance policy of his own.  Even if everything possible went wrong and every person in the world gave up on us, God has already purchased us through the blood of Jesus Christ.  A true umbrella policy.

Yesterday my four-year-old came to me looking for the “big scissors.”  I didn’t want him to get hurt, so I refused, but he persisted until he wore me down.  After being reminded  never to run with scissors, he agreed and then promptly ran up the stairs, sharp scissors in hand.  In an instant I saw what we must all look like to God.  A bunch of children running with scissors and constantly putting ourselves at risk.

Thankfully, the same God who insured the uninsurable Job has got us all covered.

Hanging By a Thread

The Prodigal Son may be a story of forgiveness, but to some people it is also a story about a loose tooth.  Okay, only to me, but with good reason. 

Luke, my six-year-old, had his front tooth loose and hanging by a thread for months, with no end in sight.  Every day brought more certainty that this tooth was with us for the long haul.  Through graduations, weddings, and funerals, The Tooth would be there as an inextricable part of our family. I’ve seen bull dogs with less tenacity. 

Every time Luke smiled at me, I saw his future before me in a flash.  In every scene, he still sported a dangling, loose front tooth.  Every milestone picture captured it:  driver’s license, prom, even holding his first child.

Then there was my recurring nightmare of his wedding.  In front of friends and family, Luke stood at the altar, exceedingly handsome with his surfer-blond hair and strapping physique.  He turned to greet his lovely bride and smiled.  The crowd gasped in horror at the sight of his dangling, bloody tooth.  He lisped, “I, Luke Hanthon, take thee…”

I felt a terrible sense of guilt as a mother.  When Luke got his first tooth at one year,  my heart gushed over how adorable he looked. Now I just wanted to grab a pair of pliers and yank.

When a child has a loose tooth, the rest of the family hangs in the balance.  In the middle of all this dental madness, I happened to be reading the story of the Prodigal Son.  Of course, this name was just assigned to him over time; it wasn’t actually his nickname.  It’s not like his father referred to him this way in the Christmas newsletter.  This year our Prodigal Son decided that my hard-earned money really must grow on trees so why not waste it all and have nothing to show for it.  We’re so proud.

The Prodigal Son demanded all of his inheritance at once and then led a more scandalous lifestyle than a Hollywood bad boy.  Once he hit rock bottom, he had to take a job as a pig feeder.  The only thing worse than getting a job as the Director of Pig Slop is the poor guy who didn’t get the job.

One day when the pig slop started looking tasty, the son came to his senses.  Filled with guilt and remorse, he returned to his father.  By this point he must have been looking quite gaunt and scraggly, not to mention in desperate need of a shower.  On the journey home,  he probably imagined his neighbors and family lined along the village streets and taunting him.  Hey, Bones!  Here’s some slop–you want some fries with that? Hahahahaha! Oink, oink! 

The only thing that could save this wretched man was redemption by his father.  His father had every right to be angry and hold a grudge against his son.  Instead, being filled with compassion, he ran to his son and buried the sin with his love and forgiveness.  When the son’s life was hanging by a thread, the father was able to cut the cord that tied him to his pain. 

Sometimes we just need Daddy to save us.

We were eating lunch when I noticed Luke’s loose tooth was starting to bleed.  Against Luke’s wishes, it was time for Daddy to intervene.  Dave had no choice but to end everyone’s agony and cut the cord…er, thread, that held us all in bondage.  It was a bloody scene, but one that brought great deliverance for us all, especially our son.  He now had a huge gap in his mouth, but he smiled with relief from the pain.

It reminded me of all the times in my life when I’ve been hanging on to something painful, and all I needed was the loving touch of my Father to help me let go.  God is ready with his trusty pliers; all we need to do is let Him do His work.

The day after the impromptu tooth surgery, I heard Luke crying in his room. 

“What’s the matter?” I asked. 

Nothing could have prepared me for the squeaky answer from the other side of the door:

“My other front tooth is loose!”

 

Tile Grout Pancakes with No Substitutions

So many of my life lessons have come from mistakes, that at times I feel like a human eraser.  Instead of footprints in the sand, I leave eraser crumbs.  Maybe they were meant to be my legacy, kind of like how Washington has his monument and Jefferson has his memorial. If people actually travel to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, then perhaps they would enjoy my Biggest Pile of Crumbs. 

Of course, my biggest pile of crumbs has actually been in my kitchen.  It seems I have a little trouble sticking to a recipe.  Part of my problem is my annoyance with superfluous directions. 

  •        Take out of oven.  Serve.  Have any autopsies shown that a person actually died waiting by the oven for days, watching and wondering what to do?
  •        Serve and Enjoy.  What else are you supposed to do with it?  Keep it in the pan and despise it?
  •        Serve naked or with whipped cream.  What?  This is a Christian household, for crying out loud.  Oh, the dessert. 

My other problem is ignoring the rule “No substitutions.”  I recently studied the cookbook of a renowned bakery chef, who, in an act of extraordinary benevolence, decided to share her sacred recipes with the world.  She must have attended military boot camp, because in her strict guidelines she warns not to go substituting ingredients, or “If you do, you are asking for trouble.”  With shaking hands, I locked the doors and dimmed the lights, preparing to substitute several of the ingredients in her recipe for “World’s Best Pancakes.”

As I started adding things here and subtracting things there, I recalled a verse that warns of not following the rules of a “recipe”:

Deuteronomy 4:2

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it,

but keep the commands of the LORD your God…

I was slightly concerned when the pancake batter seemed more suitable for grouting my shower tiles.  After dumping it on the griddle, my concern grew exponentially with the rising of the grout/batter.   Something was clearly wrong, here.  My pancakes were coming to life and resembling a high school chemistry lab experiment. 

My anxiety must have been obvious, for I heard my five-year-old son’s voice behind me:

“God, thank you that these pancakes turn out to be the best pancakes ever.”  Soon all three of the kids were praying for the pancakes. 

Now why hadn’t I thought of that?  I prayed, too, for God to give me guidance to fix this mess.  Or at least to fix the chipped tile grout in the shower.

I was inspired to do the unthinkable.  It was a moment of mind over batter.  I gathered the half-cooked pancakes, squished them all together in a heap, and dropped them in balls on the griddle.  It’s too bad there were no contests that week for “Ugliest Pancakes,” for our fireplace mantel would now be decorated with a fancy blue ribbon. 

I served the “pancakes,”   knowing there was no way my children were going to eat these things.  I sat back and cringed as they took the first bite.

“Mommy, these are the best pancakes ever!”

“Can you make these every day?”

“Can we have more?”

While devouring my “World’s Best Tile Grout Pancakes,” I realized that I had learned my lesson, and not just about following recipes.

Mistakes come when we veer off the path of God’s instructions.  In the words of Cookbook Lady, “If you do, you are asking for trouble.”  Only through prayer can He take our ugly results and turn them into something worthwhile.

Deuteronomy 4:30

When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you…

you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.

For the LORD your God is a merciful God…

Yes, God is truly merciful. Never underestimate the power of a prayed-for pancake.

  • Take out of griddle.
  • Serve with maple syrup and eraser crumbs. 
  •  And no substitutions, please.