I can still recall the jar of gumballs on Mrs. Wilson’s 5th grade class desk where it sat in the middle, so that everyone could clearly see it. Mrs. Wilson was drawing equations on the chalkboard and talking, but I was staring across my wooden desk and the 2 sharpened pencils that rested in their groove at the top, counting and recounting the blue, yellow, green, and red gumballs. A paper in front of the jar listed the names of students and their guesses as to how many gumballs were in the jar. It had to do with learning how to equate volume, or something like that. I was too distracted by the idea that one person would get that many gumballs all to themselves. I was also sure that the person in possession of this many gumballs could solve many of life’s problems, because who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone in possession of that many gumballs? Ultimately I guessed a number much higher than the actual number, and someone else, who understood volume equations, ended up with the prize.
To illustrate our church’s theme for the upcoming months, Every Week Matters, the staff at North started talking about another jar, this one full of 936 marbles to represent 18 years. When Pastor Larry used the jar of marbles during his sermon 2 weeks ago, I felt unsettled. How was it possible that one jar, held between 2 hands, could hold a representation of the number of weeks in 18 years? It should be more like a big tractor-trailer bursting from the immeasurable amount of marbles inside. But there it was, a jar too small, too light, and too fragile, to represent 18 years.
I thought about this over the next 2 weeks while I helped the kids with homework, went to work, and lived life. Then I started to think about just 1 marble, and 1 week. If every week matters, I needed to think about this week, the one I was living. If this week matters than what is important this week? A verse comes to mind, “God is my refuge and strength”(Ps.46:1). During a typical week I will encounter parenting issues that I have no answers for, I will get tired, I will become impatient, and unexpected twists and turns will change what I expect from each day, but, I will remember this week that God is my refuge and strength. I will be thankful and at peace knowing that in trouble or good times, God is in control. The unsettled feeling in my stomach is starting to go away as I let my control of life fade away and it is being replaced with a settled assurance as I give it to God.
The jar on Mrs. Wilson’s desk was a jar to figure out with complicated equations. The jar of 18 years worth of marbles isn’t something to equate, but a reminder that we can’t do life ourselves, and that God is our refuge and strength and that He has it all figured out.
Have a great week!