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The Green-Eyed Monster

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Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

(Exodus 34:14)

Friend to Friend

Shakespeare described jealousy as “the green-eyed monster.” I once heard it described as “the gangrene of the soul.” Not a lovely picture, is it? In fact, in human terms, jealousy is usually thought of as a negative trait we need to carefully guard against.

The root idea in the Old Testament word jealous is “to become intensely red” and refers to how rising emotion colors our faces when something or someone very dear to us is threatened. Been there? I have! In fact, both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are also translated “zeal.” In other words, being jealous and being zealous are basically the same in the Bible. God is zealous – eager about protecting what is precious to Him. Such jealousy compels God to pursue each one of us relentlessly, no matter how we try to evade Him with our indifferent attitude or our propensity for sin. The jealousy of God is comparable to the jealous, protective passion of a parent for a child. As a mother, I know what that kind of love is like.

When our son was only six weeks old, he developed a potentially serious medical condition. When the doctor told us to immediately bring Jered to the hospital for tests, I panicked. Dan rushed home from work and we raced to the hospital where we were met by caring nurses and our wonderful pediatrician. After an extensive exam, the doctor said, “Okay. Let’s get an IV in this little man and get him upstairs for x-rays.” Seeing the look on my face, Dr. Schultz wrapped his arm around my shoulders and said, “He is going to be fine. We will take good care of him.” Words of comfort, but they were not nearly enough to assuage my anguish as I pictured needles being thrust into my precious baby. And he couldn’t eat in case they had to do surgery! Jered was all about eating. After his regular feeding time came and went, he screamed for food until he was hoarse. I cried along with him because I knew he was hungry, but I couldn’t feed him or make him understand why I couldn’t feed him.

The nurses, obviously accustomed to dealing with almost hysterical mothers like me, reassured me repeatedly that everything was going to be fine. I wanted proof! This was not just any baby they were dealing with. Jered was mybaby! I fully expected the claws to pop out of the ends of my fingers at any moment because, for the first time in my life, I understood what a mama bear must feel like when her cub is threatened.

The nurse assigned to insert Jered’s IV was wonderful. I held him tightly as she expertly inserted the needle and quickly secured it with surgical tape. She then took a Styrofoam cup, cut it in half and taped it over the needle so Jered couldn’t accidently kick it out. And let me tell you, he was indeed kicking at this point!

The nurse then left the room so I could rock my baby and try to calm him down. Just as he drifted off to sleep, the door slammed open. An x-ray technician wheeled a gurney into the room and sharply ordered, “Let’s go!” He had no idea who he was dealing with. My husband did and quickly took charge, escorting the technician into the hallway. “We will carry Jeredup to the x-ray floor and will be glad to follow you,” he told the man, “but we will not need that gurney until we get there.” The technician started to argue but evidently reconsidered when his eyes found mine and he caught my death glare. “Fine,” he said and grabbed the IV pole and told us to follow him.

When we reached the x-ray unit, Dan gently pried Jered out of my arms and laid him on the gurney. The technician said, “We are really backed up today so let’s make this quick!” He then jerked the gurney and the IV pole in opposite directions, yanking out the carefully inserted and securely taped IV. Blood spurted out of my son’s leg, and he began to scream.

I don’t exactly remember what happened next, but Dan does. He says I scooped Jered up in my arms and stomped my foot so loudly that nurses came running as I growled at the offending young man. I guess the technician had reached his patience limit, too, because he glared back at me and said, “Lady, do you need to leave this unit?” Dan began calculating how he was going to raise my bail money when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw me approach the doomed technician, plant my finger in his chest, and whisper through clenched teeth, “Listen carefully to me, young man. I know you have a job to do, but you need to understand something right now! This is my baby! I am notgoing anywhere! And you need to watch how you treat him!” The young man quickly apologized … as did I … sort of … but I meant every word I had spoken. Fortunately, the x-rays confirmed that Jered did not need to have surgery. Afterward, he gulped down twofull bottles in record time, and I let the technician live – and we headed home instead of to jail. I was and still am a jealous parent, passionate and zealous about my children.

Don’t doubt for a minute that God is jealous for you, Girlfriend. He is standing right beside you, wrapping His arms of love around your wounded heart. Listen closely as He declares that you are His child. You belong to Him and He is not going anywhere! He is El Kannah, forever with you and pursuing you with all of His love-filled heart.

Let’s Pray

Father God, I am just flat-out amazed by the way You love me. To think that You are jealous for me rocks my world! I know me … and I simply cannot comprehend why You love me so much. But God, by sheer faith, I thank You and praise You for loving me and pursuing me – even when I don’t want to be found. Thank You for never letting me go. Help me to love You more and share that love with others.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Deuteronomy 28:14: “You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them” (NLT).

Notice that God first mentions turning away from His commands before He warns us not to follow or worship other gods. What is the relationship between the two commands?

Examine your life for anything that stands between you and God. Are you willing to lay it down today? Write out aprayer of commitment in your journal.

More from the Girlfriends

Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. The first study of 2013 is Power Up With Proverbsand since each lesson stands alone, it’s not too late to join.

FREE MP3s on Mary’s website in the Freebies Section.

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression,offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

6 Responses

  1. Sue says:

    Mary,I am a smoker! After I got saved I quit only to pick it up again 20 years later.I know God wants me to quit and every day I say I am going to.I just haven’t been able too but I have cut down.My Christian friends don’t know I smoke and neither do a lot of my family.I guess you would call me a closet smoker.I fear that God will not hear my prayers or welcome me to heaven because of this.Please help me.

    • Christine says:

      Dear Sue,
      I’m not a professional anything but I think it’s important for you to know, above everything else, that God loves you, whether or not you’re smoking. Your smoking does not separate you for God, He loves you very much anyway. When you know you are loved, and are secure in this Love, you can be free to think about changing the habit, not out of fear that God won’t love you anymore if you don’t, but out of a dedication to your health and perhaps you can treat it as an offering to God. Giving up smoking is hard, it’s a sacrifice, but maybe you can give it as an offering to this God who loves you whether you give it up or not. God hears you, and what makes you welcome in heaven is placing your trust in Jesus. You are not so much “a smoker”, as you are Sue, who right now smokes. Fear not, you are loved. If you decide to quit, good for you, that’s physically healthy! Don’t let smoking or not smoking get in the way of you and God. Maybe if you told a Christian friend or a Christian family member they could pray with you for the strength and grace to sacrifice smoking, and hold you accountable and encourage you? <3 Blessings

  2. Stefanie says:

    I read this as I was nursing my 5 month old daughter. Tears came to my eyes with empathy as I read the part when the technician ripped out your baby’s IV. My oldest daughter was hospitalized when she was 7 weeks old and I felt those same ways you did… Listening to her cry as the IV was inserted and wail because she was hungry. My mama bear definitely came out during that time! Thank you for this article and for putting God’s love for us in perspective in a way that any mother can understand!

  3. Palmer says:

    Mary,

    I am struggling with depression, and I don’t know how to overcome it. For over a year now, I have been battling with my mind. My thoughts are always negative about myself and those around me. I don’t think I am good enough for my job, my boyfriend…anything really. I pray and ask God to help me and to show me the steps to overcome this, but I feel as though he tunes me out. I don’t know what to do or where to start.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Mary,

      I went through the same thing for a long time. Depression wore me down physically, spiritually, and mentally. I was frazzled with my schedule

      • Suzanne says:

        Opps…didn’t mean to submit yet…continuing…

        but kept believing that if I just kept a possitive attitute, I would get through it. I was stubborn in this. I prayed and read the Bible with frustration because I wasn’t getting the quick answers that I was so desperate to get.

        What helped was to ask for help. After five years of struggle, I got medication that enabled me to finally sleep. Creativity and focus returned along with the ability to rest and wait on the Lord. I know now that He was there all the time but my mind was too anxious and busy (and stubborn?) to hear Him.

        I think we should thank God for medical advances and accept them as a blessing. Please tell your doctor that you are hurting. God bless you.

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