My oldest spraying whipped cream into his mouth
My oldest still likes whipped cream

Sometimes you don’t know whether to cry or laugh.

Back when all three of my boys were under the age of five, my husband awoke early, working a Saturday in November. I had come down with an infection and overnight started running a fever. I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I laid down in front of the fire to close my eyes for a second. Twenty minutes later, I jolted awake and did a quick headcount of all three boys, only to find my oldest son holding a can of spray whipped cream and a cloth. With a big smile, he said, “Mommy, I dusted.”

Every horizontal surface in my family room was smeared with sticky, partially-dried, whipped cream. I hadn’t believed I could feel worse than I already had at that moment, and then life whammed me with whipped cream as its cherry on top.

Life is good at hitting us with whammies. We’re in battle playing whack-a-mole with problems that relentlessly pop up or fighting multiple fronts—the work front, the home front, the kid front, the relationship front, the I-forgot-to-take-something-out-for-dinner front. (Maybe the last one is just me.) As soon as we think we have our battles under control, something changes: schools switch to full remote, bosses add a new deadline, kids tell you about a project due tomorrow. Our strength, energy, and ammo run out.

The Philistine army was the problem that wouldn’t go away for King David. David prayed, and his army drove the Philistines from the land, but the Philistines relentlessly popped back up again in later attacks. Frustrated and tired of battling, David prayed again, asking God if he should fight the Philistines. This time, God instructs David to use a circular route and not to attack until he hears marching in the poplar trees. When they heard the sound of marching, they were to move quickly because the Lord himself had gone before them to strike down the Philistine army (2 Samuel 5:17-25).

Like David, Instead of picking up the mallet and hammering away at those whack-a-mole problems, I’ve learned its best to take a moment and pray. Here are three takeaways I gathered from David’s story:

  1. God understands and recognizes our frustrations.
  2. Sometimes, God has us take the long route for a more permanent victory.
  3. God moves ahead of us and paves the way.

 There is comfort in knowing that God goes before you. He brings perspective and wisdom to help strike down those problems, and then we can sit and enjoy our whipped cream how I prefer it—on an ice cream sundae.

ice cream sundae

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