If you need more drama in your life, try this—sit in the middle seat on a packed airplane with two screaming babies nearby and feel the tension rise on the plane. Some people are wishing they could be anywhere else on the planet. Others wonder what is wrong with the parents that they cannot get their baby to be quiet. Some are compassionate—no doubt they’ve been in the same awkward spot with their own little children. Still others remain oblivious, sheltered inside their noise-cancelling headphones loudly playing Simon and Garfunkel’s classic, “The Sound of Silence.”
One father was clearly agitated that his child would not stop crying. He raised his voice and told him to “knock it off.” But this made the boy more upset and the sobbing increased. I’m sure many passengers concluded this would be a long flight.
The mother behind me took a different tack. She began quietly singing “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round . . .” She sang through five verses of the song before making up her own lyrics to the same tune. Her child stopped screaming to listen. Then she attempted to join her in singing certain words. I’ll probably have that song in my head for the next three days but at least the child calmed down.
Psalm 131:1,2--LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a little weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child.
Ecclesiastes 10:4—If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place, for calmness puts great offenses to rest.
Calmness is often the antidote to anger and frustration. I’ve had people scream at me and wave their hands angrily because they did not like the way I was driving. It would be easy (if I thought I was in the right) to yell back but, this does not bring resolution, it creates rage. When I humble myself and mouth the word “sorry” or, gesture in such a way to acknowledge I was at fault, the other driver almost always stops yelling.
Do you suspect pride is frequently what keeps us from acting calmly? Serenity flies out the door when we insist on our rights. Composure dies if we take on what is too difficult. If we react to the angry boss with passive aggression we set ourselves up to be like hot, smoldering coal. In contrast, arguments dissolve before a peaceful disposition. If an angry leader speaks harsh words against me or acts towards me in a hostile manner, I don’t need to respond in kind, I need to be kind.
Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot tempered man stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger calms strife.” Breathe deeply. Ask God for patience. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in how to respond to stressful situations. James Allen once noted, “The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”Don’t let screaming babies or red-faced leaders raise your blood pressure. Be calm on and off the plane.
©2016Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)