I went on a very special outing with my daughter this morning. She needed to spend her birthday money, and I needed to get out of the house for a while so off we went. It was a beautiful day, not too hot at that point. As I was driving and singing I was thinking about the message of chapter 7, it’s something that is near and dear to my heart. Being a tribute, a living, breathing, testimony of the goodness of God. Enduring hardships only to still proclaim His goodness and mercy, despite the evidence that lies all around us. This is what people look for, they look and listen, to how we handle things and what we say when things aren’t going well in the natural realm.
As I looked out the window I saw a thick stand of trees, not much else. It must’ve been darker and cooler in there than else where, you probably wouldn’t be able to see very far ahead of you. I drove further and arrived at the top of a hill where I could see beyond those trees. The road curved along, winding through open fields, more trees, on through a town, and eventually reached the city. I could see then, further than the position on the road I found myself in at that present moment. We can’t always see very far ahead in life, usually only the few steps ahead of us, but God sees the whole thing. He knows what He’s positioning you for. He knows what the road will bring.
Six years ago, during a very long and difficult hospital stay, we had a doctor use an analogy that I think explains this. It was simple because we were not doctors and he was trying to explain to my husband and I the gravity of the situation our four day old daughter was facing. He said, “Last night, we were in the swamp. Now we’re out of the swamp but we’re in the forest. Our goal is to get out of the forest.” Now we knew that with God’s help she could find her way out of the forest but for that point in time, that’s where we stood. Not even the doctor knew exactly what the days ahead would bring. From the way things had looked the previous night, he wouldn’t have thought she would make it out of the ‘swamp’. We had to remember that this was a part of the journey, not the end, and the circumstances we were facing were going to have an impact on future events.
Now, six years later, I can clearly see the all of the ways that God used the situation to show His glory and unending power, but at the time we had to just ‘deal’ with it. We had to choose to trust that this part of the journey would later unfold into another beautiful chapter, yet for us to read, but completely written by God. At the time it felt pointless, excruciating, but it did play a part in how we approach God today. How our kids view Him because they’ve experienced His provision, protection, and peace, not to mention healing in ways that have left us floored. Our daughter’s illness has produced several tributes.
‘What a miracle that we can trust in God’s ability, that we can sit or stand in this place and be part of what He’s doing all over the place, that we can stretch out our faith and even our need, and give Him the honor, the glory- the tribute- He deserves.’
Trusting Him that what we’re going through now, the decisions we make today, will play a role in things to come, some that we may never witness, and knowing that it all makes a kingdom difference, helps us to worship and praise Him in the difficult times as well as in the good ones.