Rite of Passage: Cabin fever
I turned on the news today and heard the anchorman report that this winter, some parts of the United States have already gotten five feet of snow. I love snow, but it has a short shelf life. It’s only fun for the first hour. Once you realize you have to shovel it, the joy evaporates.
If you have younger children, being cooped up inside with them can lead to a serious case of cabin fever. That’s why my wife and I always encouraged our sons to go outside and play in the snow. We made wise statements like, “Now, you boys stay outside and enjoy the snow while you can. After all, it will only last a couple more weeks.” Or, “Don’t come running to me in June wishing you had spent more time playing in the snow.”
By now, I’m sure some of you parents who have been locked in the house with your children are about to go stark raving crazy. So I decided to provide you with a way to evaluate your level of cabin fever. For those of you reading this article in the sunny South, now’s the time to set the paper down, get yourself a glass of iced tea and head outside for a dose of sunburn. Nothing below will apply to you.
You may be getting close to a case of cabin fever if:
1. You have watched so much television you are beginning to believe Gilligan’s life on that island wasn’t so bad after all.
2. You train the dog to use the toilet so you don’t have to take him outside.
3. You forgot your son’s name . . . and he’s named after you.
4. A feel-good sermon is one where the pastor preaches about eternal damnation and the lake of fire.
5. Before your children will shovel the sidewalk, they demand health insurance and retirement benefits.
6. You can tell time by the sky: dark gray, morning; light gray, afternoon; and dark gray, evening.
7. You look in the mirror and realize you bear a strange resemblance to one of the main characters from “Grumpy Old Men.”
8. You begin to believe family time is way overrated.
9. You hear your kids praying for their schools to reopen.
10. You have read this article at least a dozen times.
As I thought about cabin fever, I realized the cabins in our lives come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are locked into financial situations in which they think there is no hope. Others are trapped in an abusive relationship and feel there is no way out. Still others are shut inside imaginary rooms of discouragement which grow smaller and smaller as each day passes. All of us have some type of cabin fever at one time or another, and the best fever-reducer I know is the Word of God.
For every cabin, God has provided a door: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Isn’t that incredible? First, the apostle Paul says there is no such thing as an uncommon problem. Do you think you have a market on trouble? Then remember Dolly Parton’s words, “Get down off the cross, somebody else needs the wood.” Look around and join the crowd. Having problems means you belong to the human race.
Second, Paul gives the encouragement that God is faithful. Faithful in doing what? He will not allow you to be tempted beyond the power He gives you. No matter what you’re facing, you and God can handle it . . . together.
Third, Paul offers some more good news: God is faithful to provide a way of escape so you can endure the hardship. We feel locked into our cabins of despair because we look only at our circumstances. Instead, we should look at Christ. He’s holding the door open to provide a way of escape.
Anyone who’s ever had a pimple knows the longer you stare at it, the larger it grows. That holds true with other areas of life, too. No matter what your cabin looks like, make a choice to seek the One who is faithful and has the keys to overcome. Jesus is still saying, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
And for all you parents who have had it with the snow days: Not only does Jesus have the door, but you also can show your kids the back door, too!
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)