Yesterday was a very bad day. And it had very little to do with it being overcast, cold and wet. (Although that didn’t help.) It had to do with several phone calls that resulted in having to bring home my oldest son after an alarming conversation he’d had with the school social worker, followed by another 20-minute phone call from another teacher reporting a bullying incident she witnessed involving the targeting of my younger son.
I was overwhelmed. But before I could begin to catch my breath, my youngest son’s teacher burst into tears over the phone telling me how especially painful it had been to watch my son be so mistreated because she has an autistic son of her own.
Like some sort of quick-change superhero (sans phone booth or iconic red cape), I switched from overwhelmed mother to consoling matriarch, put on my go-to-the-rescue-persona to calm my son’s crying teacher, then, duty done, returned a missed phone call to reassure another teacher about resolving my oldest son’s latest emotional crisis, while also remembering to stop off at Walgreens to get Gatorade for my husband, home with the flu.
It wasn’t until much later, after both my sons were finally home, safe, and tucked into bed, that the quiet of night finally dissolved into lights out and the magnitude of the day finally reached my heart and not just my head. It was a bad day. A very bad day.
Add to that fact I have simply had the worst case of writers block over a writing project due in a week, and it wasn’t just a bad day, but a bad week. Curling up in my favorite armchair for consolation, I re-read the verses from that morning’s scripture, a portion of Luke’s story in chapter 4 about Jesus’ temptation in the desert, when God whispered three calming words from the text to my heart that somehow put my pain and my recent penchant for superhero suits into perspective.
It is written.
How often am I sidetracked or consumed by life’s troubles or by my longings for something better? Too often. But that focus and distraction ultimately robs me of a simple calming truth behind the words, “It is written.”
Trust me, God says. And in that trust, find the freedom to also see the good that is there. Or it’s potential for good. Because it is there.
I heard a pastor this week says something that shocked me. Like the Butterfly Effect (the idea that if a butterfly flaps its wings in South America, a hurricane may develop in the Atlantic), God weaves the seeming random and inconsequential things, as well as the painful things of all our lives into a tapestry that ultimately serves a purpose greater than we can see. And I thought about that.
Twenty-six years ago, one single sentence uttered by a clerk in a random apartment complex in 1988, ultimately led to my marriage, my three children and the entire life I now enjoy. One sentence that, if left unuttered, would have completely changed the direction of my life. Who can pretend to control their lives when so many seemingly random factors, weaving in and out, effect our free will in ways only a God who works all things together for the good of those who love him, can understand?
And there is good. So much of it. I have a teenage daughter who tells me that she loves me so many times in a day, I can’t imagine how I deserve it! God has put a precious teacher in my son’s life who cares so much for him and celebrates his value because she has a son, too, with autism. God has put a conscience into my older son’s heart that is convicting him and bringing him to a place where he can get the help he needs. And God has given me a husband who loves Christ, loves each of us, and even offers to watch a romantic comedy when he knows I need one (or need chocolate, depending on the issue). Good things from our good Father who we can trust even in our hardest desert moments because He keeps His promise to make everything serve His purposes. And how do I know? Because it is written.
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