That was the sound of the air conditioner breaking last night at 3:30 AM in the sweltering desert heat. I know exactly what time it was, because I was already awake with the baby.
I groaned, “Nooooo…not again!” Then I remembered Philippians 4:9, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I made a feeble attempt to apply this verse that I had tucked away in my memory. Okay, I will think about what is true. God is good and He is faithful and aw, man…the A/C just broke again, and they never fix it right! Ugh…forget it. I guess I will do the shower trick where you get all wet, and then the evaporating water helps you cool off.
6:35 AM. I am still awake and I am sweating. The thermostat says it is 80+ degrees. The numbers only go up to 80, and the little arm thingy is past the 80. Maybe it is a good thing I do not know how hot it really is.
The baby’s sweaty hair is matted to his head; he is stripped down to his diaper and is sleeping with his arms and legs splayed about him instead of all wrapped up in the usual swaddle. My husband has instinctively kicked all the sheets off the bed. Through the baby monitor I can hear my youngest daughter cheerfully waking up in the next room, “Nooo….Mamaaa….Mamaaa….nooo….” What is true? Well, the Lord is still on His throne and not a single thing happens to me that does not serve to improve my character and make me more like Christ and…e-e-e-u-w…is that sweat dripping down my neck? I need to text the A/C repairman soon. That’s a good idea! He always gets back to me quickly. I will be fine.
8:00 AM. I send a series of text messages to the A/C repairman pleading our case.
9:00 AM. No answer. I want to think on whatever is true… Except it sounds more like this…ARGH! Why can’t the A/C just work! This is the second time this week that it has broken. You would think in this desert that they could make air conditioners that can handle heat…
“Put your cereal bowl in the sink, (mutter, mutter); yes, Mommy is going to get your juice, (mutter, mutter)…” Why hasn’t he returned my texts? Whose A/C can be more important than mine right now?
3:00 PM. The repairman has come and gone. I feel cold air blowing through the vents again. My four-year-old and I do a happy dance. She exclaims, “Mommy, this is the funnest day! We got to wear our bathing suits all day long and eat ice cream and watch ‘The Nutcracker.’ Can we do this again tomorrow?”
As she twirled around the room with Tchaikovsky in the background I realized that I had missed out on more than one account. Clearly my children had enjoyed the day like it was a special occasion, celebrating with ballet and chocolate-chip ice cream and singing into all the fans I had turned on. I, however, stomped around like a grouch all day, complaining in my heart.
I also missed an opportunity to consciously live in the reality of the gospel, which is the one great permanent circumstance in my life. I tossed aside an eternal perspective to dwell on temporary, fleeting circumstances instead. I had completely missed the central point of Philippians 4:9—whatever is true, just, pure, lovely—that the epitome of these virtues is the good news of Jesus Christ. I also missed the context from the paragraph before verse 9: Rejoice in the Lord always…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
“Can we do this again tomorrow, Mommy?” the child asked. We will see.