Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ferrets, C.J. Mahaney, and a Lesson in Patience

Anyone who has a pet knows that the experience of pet ownership is usually equal parts joy and frustration. Heather and I have certainly enjoyed our fair share of both since we've had our two ferrets - seven month old Slinky (the cream colored one in the picture) and four month old Linus (the white one). If you've never been around ferrets (as we hadn't before I brought Slinky home Christmas Eve), let me assure you that they're among the most entertaining pets you could have. Picture the personality of a dog mixed with the mannerisms of a cat, then throw in a liberal dose of crazy and you've got a ferret. They're a blast to watch chasing and wrestling each other, but (as any cat owner will sympathize with) it's not so fun to clean out their litterbox, which brings me to the topic at hand.

We came home the other night rather late, but their box was in dire need of changing, and I knew I wouldn't have time to get to it the next day. So, with one eye open and less-than-happy thoughts in my brain, I grabbed the scooper and some fresh litter and got to business. Unfortunately, the person who designed our particular ferret cage was a moron, and didn't see the need to make a door on the cage big enough to fit the litterbox through. Thus, to clean out the box, the entire cage must be taken off its base. I wish I were joking. Obviously, this necessitates the ferrets being taken out, so I set them in the bathroom while I cleaned the cage. Believe me when I tell you that ferret crap doesn't smell pretty, and Linus (who is not the brightest mammal on the planet) missed the box a couple times, so I got to clean out not only the box but basically the entire cage as well. I was not very happy. Annoyed, tired, and ready to go to bed, I went upstairs to the bathroom to retrieve the ferrets only to find that in that span of 10 minutes they had both been kind enough to leave me a big, stinky present on the bathroom floor. The floor is linoleum, so this was hardly a difficult clean-up job, but I was at the end of my wits at this point, and finally took a nose dive off the cliff of sanity.

As I was deciding which choice word to say first and which ferret to throw across the room first, however, my mind was immediately drawn to a sermon by C.J. Mahaney I had listened to just a couple days prior. The message was from the recent Together For the Gospel conference (click here for free MP3 audio of it and all other T4G messages), and in it Mahaney had some wise words about complaining to a sovereign God. He said that if we believe that God is absolutely in control of all things (which I do) and we believe that he is perfectly wise and works all things together for the good of his children (which I do), then complaining is not only nonsensical, but an insult to the wisdom of God. Mahaney commented that when we complain, we essentially tell God, "I see no reason for this." What arrogance! Those words instantly echoed in my brain, and God in his grace even brought to my mind his wisdom. If I can't handle cleaning up after a ferret without blowing a gasket, how can I ever hope to have the patience that my unborn daughter is going to need from her daddy? God was using two ferrets to prepare me in some small way to be a loving father, but I wanted none of it. My heart was immediately humbled.

We believe in a sovereign God (Matthew 10:29) who "does all things well." (Mark 7:37) When we complain, we deny that truth with our attitudes and actions. God has promised us that this life will bring difficulty our way, great and small. God also promises that we can trust the wisdom of his perfect will. Sometimes, he graciously reveals his reasons to us, as he did to me the other night. Other times, we are called simply to trust in his wisdom, even if we don't understand it. When we do this, we show that we truly believe in God's sovereignty and his wisdom with a statement far more meaningful than any systematic theology. So the next time life throws you a curveball, whether at 9 miles an hour or 90, put your theology into practice and humbly submit to the one who is shaping you into the image of Christ. He knows what he's doing - even if it involves ferret poop.

1 comment:

Corey Reynolds said...

Of course, you could also put the offending ferret in his walking harness, tie him to the ceiling fan, and turn it on full blast. That way, he gets punished, you get a laugh and feel satisfied, and if anyone questions you by saying, "I see no reason for this", just explain that they ought not to complain because you have everything under control...