Sometimes life is hard. Most often it is the hard times of life that say the most about us. Sometimes the difficult days catch us by surprise and other times we can see them coming from a great distance. How we handle the ones that we can see coming will say a lot about our preparedness to handle the hard times that are unexpected. Page 283 was a tough day and I knew going into it that it would be. They say that time heals all wounds but given that all wounds are different, they never really specify how much time they are talking about. Many of us associate a bad experience with the place where it happened. We won’t return to a specific restaurant because one time we became violently ill after eating there. We’ll avoid a certain intersection because it is the place where we suffered great loss through a car accident. People quit attending church because they were hurt in one. The list goes on. You probably have your own place you try to avoid because it carries too many bad memories. For me, today was a return to one of those places. A place where my first youth ministry ended with a called meeting one evening and the words, “Pack your things, today was your last day with us.” I don’t know how much time it takes to heal from that kind of a wound because here I am, nearly 17 years later, remembering it as if it was just last night.
I suppose there are times when part of the process is just going back with the hope and trust you will have a better experience than before. To return to the restaurant that made you sick and try something different. To approach that dangerous intersection with caution from a different direction to find that it’s not always harmful. To return to fellowship with believers who seek to encourage and love you. To pray fervently that things are different and believe there is no reason they would throw out a visitor. 🙂 And some times we face the difficult days head on because of love. True, genuine, godly love will drive us to do things that take us outside of our comfort zones and straight into the heart of our fears. As the plans for today’s event began to unfold, I was asked to write and share a poem during a worship service that was part of a day to honor my father-in-law. As much as I didn’t want to do it because of the location, it was my love for my father-in-law and for my wife that caused me to agree to share a poem if God would give me one. The week leading up to today contained much time spent wrestling with God in regard to having a poem to share. We finally got it put together last night, so this morning I finished off my anxiety meds and headed out for what ended up being a fairly pleasant day.
The photo on today’s page wasn’t taken by me, rather it is one my sister-in-law took while I was sharing the poem this morning. Speaking in front of people still makes me nervous but I’ve learned to use that to my advantage most of the time. Today, however, my legs were shaking so much the entire time I was up front that I wasn’t sure I would stay standing long enough to finish. But finish it, I did. My love for my family and for God, empowered by His love for me, once again carried me through a difficult day with no new wounds and perhaps another day of healing taking place.
I pray that you and I would seek God at all times, but particularly so during our most difficult days. I pray that the love we have for Him, and the love He places in us for others, would give us the courage to face our fears and allow Him to continue the healing of our hurts. I pray that we would live fully in the power of God’s love as we face whatever difficulties we have experienced in our life. I pray that we would experience the healing of God as He gives us strength to face our most difficult days.