Posted by: Kara Luker | September 26, 2011

Are we sparkling yet?

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2:14-16

I’ve spent many a joyful hour collecting articles of clothing, chips for Cole’s lunches, and even the brilliant bristly things I now use to floss my teeth. There are few items I need or want that can’t be found within the aisles I know so well. I even find myself talking to cashiers and fitting room attendants as though they were close friends. Yes, I am a Target junkie.

But something bothered me recently while shopping at the happiest place on earth. A few young employees in red shirts, khakis, and very official nametags, who were dutifully returning clothes to their racks, openly whined about how long they had been working that day and how glad they’d be when their shift was over. I wanted to cover my ears and sing loudly so as not to hear such sacrilege, but was rendered helpless due to several reasonably priced blouses in my hands.

While I realize that working at Target is probably not as pleasurable as shopping there, it seemed a serious lack of self-discipline and perhaps of gratitude on the part of these girls. Or maybe it was just the absence of good training. Regardless, I saw something so clearly through my smug judgment of a couple teenagers earning minimum wage… my own guilt.

My guilt goes far beyond the good jobs I’ve grumbled about. It goes beyond the people I’ve spoken against, or the frustration I’ve voiced over seasons of life that have dragged on for waaaay too long. It certainly includes all of that, but extends itself into a big, endless black hole of unbelief. Oh my, I can feel the suction as I write… shaping little pieces of my mind into justification of discontentment, pursing my lips into negative words, warping my emotions into grotesque shapes. Heeeelp me!

It is so easy to go there. Sometimes life is hard. Bad things happen. People are hateful. The irritations of existence assault like a swarm of mosquitoes, leaving itchy welts of anger or self-pity. Maybe you shattered yet another pan lid while trying to clean up the kitchen. Oh, was that just me?

The antidote to the hardships of this world is about as counterintuitive as it gets. Rejoice. In all things. For all people. For every situation. Yes, for every shattered lid, every red light, every hurt feeling, every frustration, every desperate circumstance. Why? Because it is the ultimate act of trust and one of the only responses for which the enemy has no recourse. A perfect covering of peace comes through praise, as does a burdenless intimacy with the Lord and an uncanny ability to see through his eyes, so we are victorious no matter what is heaped on.

The trouble is that we are so easily derailed from trust because our responses are dependent on what we see, think, or feel. But if we trust – through faith in his word and character – that God is working all things together for our good, things don’t have to look or feel right. The world can be haywire, things going distinctly in the wrong direction, and evil seeming to be getting the upper hand, but we can stand in praise. Not because we can foresee good conclusions, but because we believe that God does and that he is making a perfect way to accomplish the very best for us… and probably for a whole lot of others as we are overheard speaking words of thankfulness and hope. Yep, we will surely provide light for others to see as we sparkle brilliantly against the night sky.


  1. Perfect!!!

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