The path that Matt and I have shared hasn't always been easy. But it hasn't been a particularly hard one, either. Like most families, we've had our ups and downs and have had to continually cling to God. There have been fantastic, gloriously happy times and then there's been this past year and half, which has been pretty grueling.
We've had a bit of a breather during the past few months months as events and emotions have settled down a little. It felt nice to coast.
Now it appears that our path is leading us down into the deep, dark woods. It's hard to follow a path that looks scary.
Matt's back surgery is rapidly approaching. He had another surgery (for a dog bite, not his back) over ten years ago and it was surrounded by such trauma that it convinced him to hand his life over to God for the first time. I know that God can use difficulties to make an impact when plain ol' regular life just ain't doin' it. I understand that God's plans don't always make sense to me at first. And even though I trust God because He has gotten me through many hard, scary, and sad times, I am starting to seize up a little with panic. Inwardly, of course. And deep down. I try not to let it show, but even more importantly, I try not to let it be. I lean heavily on promises like:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I like this, the English Standard Version, most of the time, but in other versions (New American Standard, perhaps?) Romans 5:5 says "and hope does not disappoint..." which I find comforting.
So when my path looks like this:
...I will try to remind myself to focus on the light farther down, past the dark trees.
"Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot, and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us." ~Alexander MacLaren image by RichardFreeman
Still, it's not easy for me and I could use some prayers for extra grace and protection during the coming months as we hike down this trail. I'm hoping that when we've made it through to the sunshine, we'll be able to look back at it behind us and realize that it was a fragrant pine forest, and the shade was a shelter, not a fear-inducing gloom. It would be even better if we could realize it while we're still in there.
quotes and path pic found on http://inclineyourheart.blogspot.com/