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.
I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? Scripture tells me to be thankful at all times! One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What? In all circumstances? When I tear my meniscus and have pain no matter what I do? When I get strep throat and then a cold? When my finances don’t seem to be what they should?
But then I am reminded that God’s will is that I be thankful. And for that, He gives me peace and joy. Oh, things don’t automatically become better (though they may), but I know that He is listening to me and I can trust Him. He is in charge. After all, He is not my personal servant boy, waiting on hand to give me whatever I ask, or my Aladdan with a magic lamp. He is the Creator of the Universe who showed His love and care about 2000 years ago when He came to earth to die for me! Through that, He has opened heaven’s door to me. This life is so short (though in suffering it doesn’t seem so!) and ahead of me lies heaven since I have embraced Jesus as God eternal and my Savior.
So I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? I must admit, too often I am not. But when I come back to God’s will for me and express thanks for the marvelous gift of coming as man to earth (an event we are soon to celebrate), plus the gifts He has given me, He gives joy and peace. This life with all its sorrows and pain will soon come to an end and then the decision I have made about Jesus will bring joy and peace forever.
With His fingers, God created all the universe and me. Just as sure, His fingers stir my heart in healing for my soul. I know that as I walk my path, nothing will defeat me, for He has pinned me to His heart. As I learn from His gentle ways, I am spurred to serve with my fingers those in my life, that they may win when life bangs their shins or breaks their bones. He desires that His fingers may bring healing into their living as they are assured of His love.