I have detailed on the blog some of the stressful things we have been dealing with lately. I will spare you a full laundry list, but suffice it to say that we have been dealing with one thing after another. Most of it is not 'big stuff,' but flat tires, broken AC units, roof leaks, car repairs, removing a dog from our home, plumbing issues, jury duty...little stressful things happening consecutively can feel like Chinese water torture--especially when each one carries a price tag of surplus time and money.
My mother-in-law, Carol, has been going through a similar season. They finally got back into their home after 7 months of being displaced due to flooding last Fall...but one thing after another has been encroaching on her joy and bringing unexpected stress.
As she and I were talking last week, she said, "These are all just little foxes, you know? Little foxes that ruin the vineyard." She was referencing a verse from Song of Solomon:
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom. Song of Solomon 2:15 (NAS)
It got me thinking about the truth of 'little foxes' and their ability to spoil a crop of good fruit. All the 'big things' in my life are in great shape currently...but a few weeks of little foxes can negatively impact my outlook. Issues that are really insignificant in the grand scheme can sour my attitude and distort my perspective.
It is true in general about life, but especially in relationships. As Randi and I were discussing this the other day she mentioned a Proverbs 31 ministries daily devotion referencing this same obscure verse. Specifically, how we can allow little offenses become much bigger and more harmful than they should be. There is an old adage we quoted growing up, "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill."
I told Carol I just wanted to find some fox traps to rid my vineyard of the little nuisances. While that may be somewhat possible, I know that they will return. This is, after all, not heaven...it is life in a broken, fallen world. So, instead I pray.
Lord, help me keep perspective as I deal with the 'stuff' of this life. Remind me that it is just that: stuff. Protect me from a skewed perception of the size of an issue. Help me have BIG joy and a crop of spiritual fruit that little foxes cannot spoil.