Many years ago, my husband and I walked through a Japanese Tea Garden. It was a lovely, peaceful place. The land had been landscaped and the trees trimmed. It had been transformed.
So with my life. As I go through rough times, I am prone to dwell in fear or anger. It doesn’t help the situation, but it is hard not to react that way when I don’t the pain and grief.
But like the gardener who does beautiful things with the land, God is a gardener who does beautiful things with my life. He can give me peace in the midst of His trimmings and diggings. He has given me a promise that has become dear to my heart: Proverbs 3:5-8. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Recently a friend told me her mother had died of brain cancer about four years ago. She had quoted those verses to her daughter many times. It was her life verse. Now, during this difficult time, she clung to it. It gave her peace and strength.
As I have experienced trials, God has used them to minister and strengthen others. I am grateful. I often think how God gave His Son so we may have life. Can I do less than suffer graciously so I can give comfort to others–maybe even life?
God alone knows where the trials lead and how they will end. I’m glad He does. Someday I can ask Him about those things. Meanwhile, I ask for grace to trust Him and experience His peace through all the stormy skies and rough roads.
The results of our election for the President have left some feeling hopeless. They fail to realize that government isn’t the answer. Hope came to earth 2000 years ago when God Himself came to earth and with His life, death, and resurrection showed us there is more to life than what we see here. This life is not all there is. I am so glad.
For those who have lost hope, regardless of the situation:
In the middle of bitter days,
God gave me a seed of hope.
I buried it deep in the soil
of my heart, far from the
probing eyes of the Spirit of God.
I feared the Light that He Is
would cause it to live and thrive
and bring pain. But God plowed
my heart with His Word and watered
the soil with His love. My heart
surrendered to the growing
seed and yielded a garden
of joy and trust in the living God.
As Christmas approaches, I have been experiencing such a feeling of sadness. I understand why. This is the Christmas without my precious mom. She went home to be with the Lord in May. But I think there is more. December 18 would be my 49th anniversary if my husband was still living. He has been gone almost eight years, but I guess I’ll never stop having those moments when I miss him. And I think I am still a little tender about my brother’s dying in August 2012. And although my Daddy died in 1998, there are times I still miss him. So goes grieving. It catches us by surprise when those moments come. I guess it shouldn’t, but doesn’t it always?
All that makes me think of my poor little Mama. She and Daddy were married almost 56 years when she lost him. And then to lose a child, no matter how old, was terrible for her. I think it must have been harder than losing Daddy, if that is possible. Children shouldn’t die before their parents, but all through history, they have. My daughter almost lost her 2 year old son three years ago. But we were so thankful that we still have him and he is a normal, active 5 year old, full of mischief and life.
As I have thought a lot about losses this month. I realize that under my sadness, I still have joy. Not the giggly kind that is happiness, but the deep kind that holds onto hope. I think of the message of Christmas and the gift of Christmas: the baby, God in human form, who came to give us hope for each day, strength to go on and to know that the best is not in this life, but in the one to come where we will never have to say goodbye.