“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.”
Yesterday I celebrated my 50th birthday by going to the gym, shopping with my husband, and going out to dinner. All day long family and friends sent me their well-wishes. If ever I felt loved, yesterday was the day. I was flying high and enjoying every minute of it. However, you know the saying, “what goes up, must come down.”
Today is not my birthday. I woke to my typical aches and pains; maybe they were even a little worse than usual after all my merry-making yesterday. I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment, then traveled to meet my in-laws for a birthday lunch. It was once last glimpse at the mountaintop before I got a long look at the valley.
Just a little while ago, a phone call signaled a continuing family conflict, the taxman affirmed what we thought would be bad news, and then the baking project I was working on didn’t yield as much as I was hoping it would. Three strikes and I plummeted fast off that mountain of love into the valley of “how am I going to fix this mess?”
Fortunately, I was quick to acknowledge my helplessness and remember to look back “to the hills from whence cometh my help.” God, why do you seem so far from me when just yesterday you seemed so close? I mean, didn’t I celebrate Easter two days ago with shouts of “He is risen, He is risen indeed, Alleluia”? Didn’t I go straight from celebrating Your victory over sin, death, and the grave into a virtual love-fest? Why is my faithfulness so fleeting? Why Am I so quick to forget your goodness? Why do I think that the God of the Universe, who willingly sent His only Son to die for my sins, won’t also walk with me through family difficulties, financial trials, and a tiny little thing like mis-sized cinnamon rolls?
Because I am bent on turning. When the road gets a little rough, I assume I’ve got to get tough. I don’t often consider that God has placed a rough road in front of me so that He can assure me of His presence and provision. I forget that He has carried us through sickness, joblessness, tragedy, and loss to much better places than we ever thought possible.
Just this morning, a mere nine hours ago, I read in my Bible study of Hosea the words posted above, that “God has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us.” I read that way before the triple threat of a mere hour ago.
Jennifer Rothschild asked me in the Hosea study, “What is the greatest affliction God has placed or allowed in your life?” I listed a few things that have been quite challenging. Her next question, “Can you see how that wounding has been part of greater healing?” My response? “Absolutely.”
Can I see how the situations placed before us right now might be part of greater healing? Yes. Do I wish that they weren’t happening? Yes. Do I trust God enough to watch and see how He works even in these difficult times? Obediently, at this moment, I say yes.
I refuse to lose hope just because I am sitting in the valley after a delightful trip to the mountaintop. I’m not going to fashion a golden calf. I’m going to trust that God is still working, just like He was Sunday and yesterday. I’m going to to believe that any bumps in our path have been crafted by Him to draw us closer to, not further from, Him. I’m going to believe that although right now we seem wounded, in just a little while He will heal us.
And won’t He just do it.