It’s a couple of days before July. I’m writing in the Southeastern United States where it has been, I believe, around 225 degrees for the last month. It doesn’t rain here any more and I really need to get out there and mow my acre of dirt which used to resemble a lawn in days of greater moisture. Yes, it’s summer in Georgia and I’m thinking about something that only becomes visible for a few weeks each year: A winter snow-globe. Riding down the road to the hospital today I thought of something I can learn from the snow-globe. Don’t skip down, but I’ll tell you what I learned at the end of this blog.
Yesterday was a rough day. My children were sad after I had to leave them again. We had spent a solid 24 hours enjoying each other while we had the chance. Laser-tag, bowling, junk food and a visit with mom at the hospital on Tuesday. We felt like a real family for a minute – well, only mommy wasn’t with us on Wednesday. Amy spent yesterday without seeing her family because I had several administrative things to do in preparation for her coming home next week. She enjoyed a visit late in the day from two ladies but I could hear in my wife’s voice the sadness that is an unwelcome loiterer in our lives these days. Deborah was taken off life support and, as I’m typing this, she’s still alive in a local hospice care provider; Amy tweeted how heavily this was weighing on her. We are separated, sad and thoroughly human as we weigh the changes of the next several months coming our way without asking permission. Right now there is a large hospital bed with no sheets sitting in our den at home awaiting Amy’s return home next week. It’s ugly, so very different from the pretty decor that Amy has chosen for the inside of our old house. The bed is so out of place – steel, putty colored frame and a vanilla rubber mattress. My beautiful lady won’t look right upon such an ugly bed. Things just aren’t the same as they were before June 16th.
But my Lord told me something that makes all the shifting sand fall into its place: “For I am the Lord, I change not…Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. “ – Malachi 3:6 & Hebrews 13:8.
That’s good news when you feel like you might be losing your footing. Things change…God can’t.
Have you ever thought that you never really hold the same snow-globe twice? You pick it up and shake it just to watch the little white pieces of glitter fall to the bottom. We experience the picture of a twenty second blizzard and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy it just a little. When you shake a snow-globe you you rearrange all the components and a pretty little scene emerges from the shaking of it. The snow never lands in the same place twice and the whole experience is one of a jostling change that produces something pretty and new. I’ve felt a little like that lately. The sovereign hand of God has graciously shaken our lives and stirred up all that once lay calm and peaceful. Our world was safe and sweet and easy – not without problems but certainly without tumult. Amy and I have often prayed for greater glory for Christ in our lives. We’ve prayed to know Him more deeply and to know His love for us to a larger degree. We have cried out for a deeper, purified faith. Those seem like sweet and innocent prayers but they required a shaking of our little globe if they were to be affirmed by God. What feels like chaos to us as the pieces of our life are thunderously rearranged is, in all actuality, a beautiful work of God. His perspective is very different than mine and it is only when His eyes become my own that I can find order in the chaos and beauty in the hurt. Forgive me if that sounds preachy but I confess it to be absolutely true. He’s there in your shaking globe and He is not afraid. It makes perfect sense to Him and He is not frustrated that you find it frightening. He’s good and that means that He is doing something good. While all the little flakes of our lives seem tossed into the air – randomly, without meaning, violently – God is impressing upon us that He is a God of order and grace. Faith says that it is good in spite of it feeling so bad. I’m going to trust Him today. How about you?
Oh yeah, here’s the thing that sticks with me about the snow globe. Shake it up and the whole thing seems to be in transition for a bit. There’s one thing that never changes though, no matter how hard and long the flakes are shaken up and stirred. The foundation never, ever changes. Set that snow-globe back down and all the tempest settles and all the parts return to rest upon the foundation where they were before. Rearranged? Of course. Never the same? That’s right, never. Perfectly upheld by a strong foundation?
Yes, we are.