We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Proof Through the Night

Does your mind sometimes act like dominoes? One thought leads to another, and before you know it, you're thinking about something on another level from your original thought.

On our way home from our Michigan vacation, "up north," we passed a mailbox shaped like a little house with a tiny tattered American flag attached to the front, waving in the breeze.

That brought my thoughts to the line in "The Star-Spangled Banner" that reads, "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs busting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there . . ."

And this made me think of the "bombs" in my life that had burst all around me in the past several months . . .the sudden illness and passing of my faithful husband, the crushing grief and feelings of vulnerability, the ensuing mounds of paperwork, the never-ending list of phone calls, the flooded basement when a storm took the power out, the breakdown of our good car nine hours from home, the wringing of my hands because he always knew what to do . . . everyday reminders of the earthly permanence of this unsolicited separation . . .

Then I came to realize that these "bombs" have the potential to prove that, through the night, my faith in God is still there. Still active. Still strong. Still flying high . . . tattered and torn as it may seem some days.

I've been reading Elisabeth Elliot's book A Path Through Suffering: Discovering the Relationship Between God's Mercy and Our Pain. She defines suffering as "having what you don't want, or wanting what you don't have" (page 56). Her thoughts about the Old Testament character of Job caught my attention. "We may take heart from the suffering of Job. Suffering was the necessary proof of the reality of his faith . . . a living proof of a living faith . . . Job's suffering provided the context for a demonstration of trust" (pages 52, 53).

No matter what the challenges of life may bring, I want them to give proof through the night that my faith is still there. Visible and present, regardless of the darkness, the testing and trials, the unexplained losses. Just like the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the famous lines that became our national anthem and just like that little American flag attached to the front of the mailbox along a sandy roadside up north.