Aisley and her DS waiting for the rain to come...
No, we're not nuts. We just really wanted to get to the top of the boathouse before the rain hit. There's a covered pavilion at the top with a couple of net swings for the girls and a hammock for me. The rain rolled in, the cool wind blew and we fell into what we decided later was our favorite time on the lake.
The hours were slow and wonderful. The talk was easy and fun. It was good to be with my girls in one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen. Life was good...and for all we knew, it was that way for everyone, everywhere. After all, cell phone service was sporadic. Email connections, almost non-existent. We talked of the Lord...His provision and splendor...His care for us and for Wayne and Cassie, thousands of miles away...His amazing gift of time and rest. Wasn't everyone feeling the same?
It only took a few phone calls to find out differently. What we realized is that the top of the boathouse was the only place my cell phone worked with any reliability. I took it out with us the second day just to have a clock with us since the day before we lost track of time! As soon as I settled in, the phone buzzed that a few messages were waiting. I settled back to listen to messages and return calls, wondering what was happening in the rest of the world.
By the time the evening came we discovered that two friends of mine had died, two others were having conflict within their families and a family had lost a two year old little boy after simple swimming lessons put too much strain on a little heart. Grief, pain, stunned voices, straining to see clearly the way to walk next, pressing to find their way back to the place we rested in so easily.
While talking to one dear sister that day, she paused to ask if I had time to listen...was she interrupting us? No, I softly laughed, if you've got time...I've got time. All the time in the world, in fact. What was I doing? she wanted to know. Sitting in the rain, swinging on a hammock at the top of a boathouse on a beautiful lake nestled in the Appalachian Mountains...and would be for the next 3-4 hours. There was a bit of a pause in her voice as she chuckled ironically. What a difference between her day and mine.
So great was the gap, I started to apologize for it...for being in such a good, restful place when she was not. I wanted her to know that I weep where she weeps. But she quickly stopped me. No, she said. I'm so glad that you are doing so well. I need you to be. I need to know that someone is seeing clearly...that God is still as He always was.
I was struck by her words of wisdom. How right she is. When I'm going through hardship...whether money, children, pain, suffering, loss, conflict...it's easy to look at others who are experiencing blessing from God and either feel more sorry for myself or bitter at their good fortune. But the Word of God has a different perspective for me...Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says...
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!God had given me a time of strength and clear sight, not for my sake, but for Him and His people. It was now my turn to do what I could to be a light in her darkness...to proclaim that the God she has known for so long is still the same as He ever was...to make known again to her the promises which are ours in Jesus Christ...to declare the cross and the power of the gospel in her life. It was my delightful duty to lift her up...with the sure knowledge that it won't be long before I need her to return the favor. In this world I will have trouble...another of Jesus' promises to us.
How amazing to realize the provision that God has already made for my future problems in dear sisters in Christ who are chasing hard to know Him and obey Him in all things. I will fall. He will lift me up...and sometimes He will use others to cry in the darkness to me...I see Him! Follow me...I know the way to go. We'll get there together.