This summer I spent a week in
with my brother, sister-in-law, and
5 year old niece. One of the highlights
of the trip were the hikes we took.
Most evenings we would investigate kid friendly hikes online and then
pick one for the following day. The
words "kid friendly" quickly became the joke of the trip as we
traversed giant boulders, navigated over mounds of rocks (otherwise known as a
"clearly marked path"), and took up steep inclines to breathtaking
My niece was a trooper and didn't fall once in all those "kid friendly" hikes . . . until one of our final days when we were actually on a legitimately kid friendly path! As we descended a very gentle gravel path she landed on her knee and the floodgates opened. She sobbed as we carried her to the car, as we traveled to the nearby grocery store for more first aid supplies, on the ride to the condo, and all throughout her bath. As my sister-in-law gently, but deliberately did one final cleaning to remove all the dirt from the wound, my niece's tone of voice changed.
"Mom", she said firmly. "Mom! Mom!!" finally putting her little hand on my sister-in-law's arm to get her attention. She wasn't just crying out. She had an idea. "I know what won't hurt as much." She proceeded to tell her mom how she could go about this in a way that wouldn't hurt so much.
This little exchange stopped me in my tracks. My niece was convinced she knew a better way, a way that wouldn't hurt. She was certain of it, as certain as she had ever been about anything (and she is pretty head strong and certain of everything!) This little girl, who knew nothing about the danger of infection, the cleansing properties of antiseptics, or the angle at which my sister-in-law needed to get into the wound to clean out all the little bits of dirt . . . was certain she knew a better way. Certain.
How often do I look to heaven and firmly say, "Lord! Lord!! I know what won't hurt as much." I say it all the time. Certain I know a better way to go about what he is doing. Certain.
Recently the Lord has been showing me that he does in fact know what he is doing. The difficulties in my life - the things that hurt in some way - are doing something. They serve a purpose. What God is doing in and through my present struggles is a greater gift to me than for him to simply remove them.
I see those words on the page and part of me can't believe I typed them. It's been a long time getting to this place and I'm sure there is a long road still in letting this truth sink in. But today somehow I'm aware that the struggles are a gift. They are doing something good in me. I've caught glimpse of that, a glimpse at the good they are doing.
They are a gift. Greater than any other he could give right now. How can I know this? If there was a greater gift he could give, he would. The Cross is proof of this. He holds nothing back.
Today may we trust that the Lord knows what he is doing. He sees our pain. He hears our cry. He knows our wounds. He is giving us a gift. He has a purpose.
Lord, help us receive your gift and trust in your purpose.