Prayer with a friend stopped short when I received a call from the school secretary saying, “Justin was in an accident during gym class.”
Racing for the soccer ball in a one-on-one game against time, my eleven-year old collided heads with another boy.
Arriving at the nurse’s office, my son lay flopped on her bench with an icepack to the back of his head, eyes glazed.
The doctor said he suffered a concussion. A CT scan showed a fracture to his temporal bone, the part of his skull behind the ear.
My pastor’s words rang in my spirit, dangling with a question mark: “When we go through trials, we need to ask God what He wants to teach us.”
Ok, God, I’m listening…
I distilled my trial into two basic, albeit challenging, lessons on trust and thankfulness.
Justin’s injury caused hearing loss in his right ear. It could have been worse; but what if his hearing didn’t return to normal?
I reminded myself: Thankfulness is an act of obedience, an active by-product of trust. Knowing God is in charge gives us a big bouquet of reasons to rejoice.
[box] “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28[/box]
After I trusted God in one area, he stretched my trust in another.
Two weeks after Justin’s accident, while I was away at a writer’s conference, I woke up one morning unable to move my right arm! It had been sore before conference, but now it screamed!
Ok, God, I’m listening…
Trust and thankfulness.
But. it’s. hard. to. trust. when. you’re. in. the. dark.
Everyone asked, “what’s wrong?” Oh ~ if only I knew!
A year and a half earlier, I had mysteriously injured my rotary cuff. I’ll never forget it because it happened the same week, “A Friend in the Storm” released. Again I was miles away from home; and again it hit my right shoulder. I’d been healed when someone prayed for me before. Hadn’t I? What was going on? In the middle of a conference I looked forward to all year, I felt scared, helpless, confused.
Ok, God, I’m Listening…
Shining her usual heart of gold, my agent directed me to a doctor, a pain specialist, who just “happened” to be at the conference.
With my arm in a sling, everyone rallied around me. My roommates even helped me get dressed! Through every obstacle, God provided the help I needed.
In the midst of my disappointed, I marveled at how God brought good from evil. I experienced the Body of Christ at its best. And how nice of me to give people a chance to show love, right?
When I got home, the doctor informed me that I have calcium deposits in the tendons of my rotary cuff. The story’s not over, but in the meantime, God gave me some pretty decent opportunities to talk to people at the Mayo Clinic about God.
Yes, trials strike at every turn; but the Lord uses each of them to sculpt us from head to toe (shoulder to arm), into the striking image of His Son.
[box] “Abba, Father,” he cried, out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36[/box]
Heavenly Father, I thank you my shoulder is doing much better so I can share…
Thank you for friends who shoulder each other’s loads through love and prayer. No one’s exempt from pain, but you’re faithful to strengthen us, provide for us, give us a myriad of reasons to rejoice.
No matter what happens, may trust and thankfulness grace our spirits today. May we set up smooth stones of remembrance, celebrating with confidence, your loving expressions in our lives. In Jesus’ name.
Now speak, sweet Savior. Your servants are listening…
[box] “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:17-18[/box]
I’d love to hear your thoughts and favorite Scriptures in the comment section. Thanks! Also, the coupon code for the buy one, get one FREE copy of “A Friend in the Storm” is now the word: thankful. I’ll be drawing a name from your comments below so someone will also win a FREE gift book!