Baby, it’s cold outside! Time for some inside fun—or not!
We’re playing Jenga—that tower building game where you remove one block at a time and place it on top until the whole thing tumbles with a terrifying bang that sends the poor dog low-tailing it to the far corner of the house every single time.
Anna tells us she’s using her “flicking” technique as she tries to jimmy a block out of the center.
The tower trembles. Nick and I are quite sure the dog will have to take off again in less than ten seconds.
Anna keeps at it, index finger flicking, eyes focused.
We wait. I’m scared for the dog.
The block moves.
Another flick. The block moves again. The tower shakes. I hold my breath.
And then . . .
Out comes the block!
The dog can stay put for another round.
Anna’s turn comes again. She starts flicking, again. This time the block’s not budging. She’s determined to have her way. She flicks. The tower shakes. She is not deterred. What worked last time will work again this time. She’s bold.
I look at Nick across the table. Our eyes meet, all four popping, sclera flashing. If eyes could speak, all four of ours would be saying . . .
“It’s coming down this time! Look out!”
Nick’s blue eyes, framed in white, begin rolling. Mine are still bulging, staring.
She’s still flicking.
The whole tower turns a couple degrees counter-clockwise.
Oh, good Lord! Here we go . . .
His eyes grow bigger, still rolling. He says without saying . . .
“You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Can’t she see it’s coming down this time?”
I start laughing. Hard. He’s hysterical!
As soon as Nick’s and my eyes retreat back into their proper socket positions . . .
The dog takes off running, tail between her legs.
The edifice is in ruins all over the table, not one block left upon another, like some ancient wall surrounding a holy city I visited once.
Anna laughs like it’s no big deal.
I try to calm the cortisol surging through my veins. I think I’m about to blow a blood vessel somewhere in this 55-and-a-half-year-old body. Big bangs are not my thing. They’re not good for human or canine. But sacrificial mother that I am, I play this nerve-racking game with kids who like it.
Poor me. Poor dog.
Nick blurts his words of wisdom for Anna—for me—for all creation everywhere . . .
“When you keep pushing and nothing’s happening, you might want to try something else.”
Jesus and Jenga!
How many of us keep pushing against the immovable God and His ways? Maybe, just maybe, when we try to move God into positions where he’s not budging, we might want to reconsider. Then again, maybe we find our breakdowns funny. Maybe we will keep doing things our way instead of God’s way, not budging our wills one bit, spending our lives shaking and crumbling, only to rebuild and find ourselves crashing down all over again—and again. Jesus says there’s a better way . . .
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O LORD. Psalm 93:5 (NIV)
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Psalm 33:10-11 (ESV)