Life is full of expectations. Sometimes expectations aren’t very high, such as when we expect our son to take out the trash. But, other times, expectations are built up for something for weeks, even months. Then, when those expectations aren’t met, we meet with disappointment. And, we have to make a choice of how we will respond to that disappointment.
So, our major disappointment this year is connected with our Sukkot celebration. We anticipate this for weeks and months. A time to praise and worship Yah and spend time with Him and people we love. A time for fellowship and dancing and singing and learning. And, initially, all those expectations were fulfilled. But, very soon after Sukkot started, sickness hit the camp and started working its way quickly through. People were down and out with a stomach bug. First 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and very quickly dozens.
So, now many people are confined to their tents and feeling miserable. One of the first thoughts is, “I’m going home.” After all, who wants to be sick in a tent – oh spoiled people that we are. I will admit, when I had 3 kids with this bug coming out both ends, we did pack up and go to a hotel for the night (poor hotel maid). And, when I and my littlest one were sick, I was tempted to go back to said hotel. But the thought of going home was never really a serious thought. After all, who wants to end Sukkot this way? Do I really want to pack up camp and drive home 4 hours with sick kids? Then we would be home and everyone else would still be here praising and worshipping and celebrating .
So, we have chosen to stay here and see what God has in store for us; to worship Him in spite of the trials and family members succumbing to illness one by one. But I think the real test is in our attitude. How do I choose to respond to this disappointment? Apparently God has something else in store for us than we had originally planned. Even though our plans were made in obedience and we thought they were so right and so good, He had other plans.
As I sat here in our tent tonight, listening to the praise and worship and celebration going on in the main tent. I was disappointed. I won’t pretend I wasn’t. I so wanted to be there praising and worshipping with everyone. So, I did sing the songs, but I knew I was missing out on some awesome dancing. However. going into a tent full of people when I know I’m sick isn’t loving my brother. So, I get a chance to spend some quiet time thinking about the blessings of being here in spite of the hardship.
Of course, the illness, as minor as it is, isn’t too serious. That’s one blessing. Everyone seems to be getting over it rather quickly. As I spend time on my own, I have more time to contemplate what He’s done for me – as long as I’m not wallowing in my own self pity.
We are still fulfilling the theme of Sukkot – “Echad: that we may be one”. We are helping each other through this. Everyone shares what health remedies they have. Some get food for others. As one leaves for the market, they check who else needs anything. The kitchen makes special food for the sick. Cleaning crews 30 strong go through camp disinfecting all the surfaces they can. And, while they’re cleaning, others are dancing in worship. So we are battling it physically and spiritually.
We’re all still here, together, worshipping Him as best we can under the circumstances. We won’t give in to the enemy. He wants to ruin our Echad. But, we won’t let him. We have God on our side and we won’t miss our appointed time with Him.