Debra Whittington: In awe of the ways God gets my attention

As a child I heard them called hop toads. Other people called them frogs or simply toads. Whatever you call this amphibious creature one thing is certain; they belong away from the house.

I was starting to feel a little better physically but one certain morning I definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed with an attitude. Since I was sick everything piled up around me and I didn’t look forward to the sink full of dishes waiting for me. I was certain this was going to be a terrible day.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it tells us to pray without ceasing, and although that morning I thought I was praying to God it was more of a grumbling and moaning in self-pity. I knew my grumblings were not the prayer God desires, but that didn’t stop me. I talked to God out loud pouring out all the things that were wrong that morning. Suddenly I realized God already knew these things and my moaning and groaning weren’t going to help make the day any better. It wasn’t the way I should pray.

Crying out to God I repented for my bad attitude. If I couldn’t stand myself, how could others? I pleaded with God to do something to change my attitude and help me through the day. I told Him that I was going to praise Him no matter what happened that day, but still my heart wasn’t following my mouth.

Then I glanced down and saw a tiny toad hopping across the floor. I didn’t want it to crawl under something and die and I certainly didn’t want to discover it in the middle of the night. The last thing I wanted to do was pick it up.

I quickly grabbed the broom and started “sweeping” it toward the door. It tumbled about and I was afraid I would hurt it so I stopped and observed it for a moment. It didn’t seem to be hurt as it started hopping in the opposite direction.

Feeling like a hockey player trying to get the puck to the goal, I swept and he hopped. Finally after what seemed an eternity (but wasn’t more than a few minutes) I got him to the door and giving one last emphatic sweep sent him into the grass and on his way.

Quickly I closed the door and sat down laughing my head off. I was sweating profusely and was out of breath but I couldn’t stop laughing at what just happened. My bad mood was broken and although I didn’t get everything done that day it didn’t bother me.

God uses anything and everything to get our attention. I can’t help but feel He must have a sense of humor because I think of the animals he created and their antics that make us laugh. He knows all about us because He created us. In Jeremiah 1:5 it says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

God knows everything about us and that morning when I asked Him to change my attitude, he used a little toad to get me out of my self-pity. I am not saying He placed it there, the little toad did that all on its own when the door was left open. What I am saying is I am always amazed at what God will use to get my attention when I cry out to Him in my despair.

I thank God for his unusual way to get my attention that morning. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) commands us, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. I continue to laugh every time I think about the toad. I learned a person needs to be ready when asking God to help you because you never know what He might use.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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