For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison and laid burden on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads; we went through
fire and water
But you brought us to a place of abundance.
Verses like these never used to make sense to me. Refining, prison, fire, water, over our heads…all just words. All just writings that I never truly laid meaning to until now. Now? Now those words stand out at me and penetrate deep. Each sentence bearing witness to what our family went through, is going through, and the place we are now in.
So many days I felt like I was in prison, surrounded by four cinderblock walls that I couldn’t move if I tried to. Huddled over with fear, disappointment, and pain half the time it felt like I was drowning and then the other half of the time it felt like I was on fire. But what can you do? Certain things in life are unalterable, you have to live through it. You have to bear it and somehow live with the hope of knowing it can’t possibly be like this forever.
I think too that I used to read verses like this and have to push aside feelings of anger at God. Afterall, it doesn’t sound like a very nice place to be! God, why would you let your child go through things like that? Like this? These verses sound torturous to go through. It used to not make any sense to me at all, these days, however, they are crystal clear.
I wouldn’t take away one ounce of the pain. I wouldn’t trade my seconds with Gideon for the whole world and I wouldn’t change the way it molded me. It hurt. It hurts. And those days were so hard. But there was goodness in them that cannot be described only lived. And now as I read toward the end of the passage I read about this place of abundance. A place I wondered if it really existed. It does.
Its like whats left is all that is good. I still miss Gideon, I always will, and I had a silent giggle to myself in church as I decided that I was simply living history’s longest pregnancy. Instead of carrying Gideon in my belly I carry him with me every single day, but someday he will be mine to hold. But in these past weeks I have experienced joy, laughter, and love for my family and friends that I have never experienced before. This place of abundance is a nice place to be. There is freedom after the storm. There is relief. There is joy and there is abundance. And it is no longer based on circumstances or happy things, times, or events. Its joy of the soul, its a place of happiness regardless of life because it simply is.
I think before if I had actually believed such a happiness existed I probably would have tried to find it. I don’t think I honestly did. But I know now, and I am thankful to be able to tell you about it too. Its a rush.
I think my mother in law Debbie experienced some of the rush last week. My mom made beautiful cards out of her Shades of Peace painting and gave some to Debbie for her birthday. The day after her birthday Debbie sent me and emailing overflowing with excitement and ideas about all the amazing things we could do with these Shades of Peace cards. She writes, “I have tears in my eyes and cannot type these words fast enough . . . I’ve had a quiet moment of reflection with only one little one in the house today and I believe God has spoken to my heart this morning. We all know without a shadow of doubt that God wants our family to use Gideon’s life to help others. It is so amazing how He works in such subtle ways, but here it is!! I just want to scream THE NOTE CARDS!!!!”
I think a lot of us have been were Debbie was. A wave of excitement, passion, energy overflows within us and in that moment we know that God is with us. That God is speaking. That He is real, He is here, and He loves us! But then the moment passes. A little time goes on and we wonder…wait…was that really God. Hmmmmm? I don’t know maybe I was just being crazy…Then life continues to happen and we move on, never letting ourselves fully sink into the hope and the joy that comes we recognizing how powerful God’s presence really and truly can be.
Later that day, Debbie decided to ask Him. Just straight up ask Him, “God was that really you afterall? Were you really speaking to me?” Debbie is our deal hunter and she frequents yard sales and Goodwill to provide all her grandkids with the world’s best and largest selection of toys. This particular trip to Goodwill, God had something to say, and there sitting on the shelf when she arrived was a brand new Gideon Blue Peace bear.
Yes God is there. Yes God is speaking and Yes He does allow painful things to come in our lives. Some pain more than we think we can handle. But may we all reside together believing that yes, there is a place of abundance. And its a wonderful place to be.
Have you ever had a time like this? A moment, an hour, a day where you were sure God was with you…but then you doubted? Go back to Him. Maybe He is waiting to bring you to a place of abundance too.