“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 NIV)
When I was young, I was lonely, despite being one of four children close in age. My sisters read romance comic books and snuck makeup. Unsupervised, I invented games in that small mountain mining town in northern Washington state, USA. Gathering all the neighbourhood kids that I could find onto someone’s stoop, I’d yell, “Dog pile!” and we’d all jump off at the same time, a heap of kids with me on the bottom. But the last time that we played it, my right arm was suddenly going left.
It was not long after World War II, and the hospitals were full of wounded soldiers. The nearest emergency room was at the bottom of a dirt logging road that spiralled down to the river. My uncle held me close to his khaki uniform while my father drove as fast as he could. There, the doctors set my arm and said that I’d have to stay overnight. I was the only kid in that single, multi-soldiered ward. From the pittance that he had left, my father bought me a bottle of strawberry pop. With three siblings, I’d never had one all to myself before. All the injured soldiers chipped in, too, with whatever sweets they had. For a kid from a very poor family, this was like winning the lottery. I’d never even seen any of this stuff before.
As soon as I woke up from the anesthetic, I demanded the pop and proceeded to barf it all right back up, to the dismay of everyone present. But I divided the candy into four neat little piles for me and my sisters. My parents were ecstatic when they came back to get me. What a generous little saint they were raising! I was only obeying what they’d taught me, to share what I had and not complain. Yet that first time, being alone and on my own, trying to get used to being one-armed among strangers, was an opportunity from God to learn patience and endurance, to realize that God can be completely trusted in every event of life, and most of all, to discover that I was not truly alone because God would send good things my way — which I continued to believe even as we got even poorer. My father lost his job in the mines, and my mother wasn’t able to teach school. But what seemed at first to be disaster continued to turn out well, moving to Idaho, going to new schools, changing, and growing. Over and over again, I’ve been able to share stories of how, out of what seemed at first to be disaster, God worked for good for me and those around me.
That is true for all of us. There are better things ahead than any we leave behind, someone said. Someone else said, Never fear the future. God is already there.
Prayer: Dear Father God, we are so grateful that we have chosen to accept Your love, forgiveness, and guidance today so that no fears but only faith lights our pathway ahead, step by step. Thank You for the deep waters that do not overflow us but strengthen us to become more like You. With Dorothy Greenwell, we confess that we are not skilled to understand what You have willed, what You have planned. We only know at Your right hand stands One who is our Saviour,” in Whose name, we pray. Amen.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada