The following is a transcript of a recent night with our six-month-old son:
6:15pm – Bedtime. Bottle. Diaper change. Jammies. Songs. Bed. Sleep.9:30pm – Fussing. Whining. Kicking. 9:50pm – Back to sleep. 11:00pm – Waking. Fussing. Crying. Shushing. Pacifier. 11:05pm – More fussing. More crying. More shushing. More pacifier. 11:10pm – Even more fussing. Crying. Even more shushing and the pacifier again 11:15pm – Louder crying. Shushing. Rocking chair. Back patting. 11:20pm – Back to sleep. 2:05am – More fussing. More crying. More shushing. More pacifier. More rocking and back patting 2:15am – Back to sleep. 4:30am – Waking. Fussing. 4:33am – Bottle. Feeding 4:50am – Sleep… sweet sleep. 5:45am – Waking. Smiling baby. Droopy eyed parents.
This is our reality right now. It’s hardly an unusual experience for parents of a six-month-old, but in the middle of an already trying time for our family, the last thing we need is a lack of sleep.
One recent night as I put my head on the pillow I asked God, “Can you please help the little man sleep tonight? It’s been a rough week, and it would be nice to get more than three hours of sleep at a time tonight.”
That night he slept until 4:00am. As I sat in the rocking chair, boy and bottle in my arms, I remembered my prayer. To my surprise, my initial reaction was not to give credit and thanks to God. My first impulse was to chalk it up to coincidence.
My impulse reveals a problem I have. It is hard for me to believe God will give me anything good. It doesn’t make sense. I have an amazing family, a good job, and I am healthy. But there is a part of me that refuses to believe God will bless me in any way. I don’t question God or his goodness. I believe he blesses others. I believe he is good. I believe he loves us, but I struggle to believe he will bless me.
In a podcast, I recently heard Pastor Russ Ramsey talk about the “sin of exceptionalism.” He describes it as the belief that God’s promises and/or warnings don’t apply to us because our situation is somehow different or exceptional. This of course is not true. His warnings are true and his promises stand firm.
I am a clear offender of the sin of exceptionalism. I have no problem recognizing that God’s judgment applies to me, but I struggle to accept his promises, his blessings, in my life. What about you? Do you fully accept his promises and his blessings in your life, or do you think your case is somehow exceptional?