Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: Green Strawberries and Cartwheels
By Helen Paynter
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My darling daughter,
I am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing now. It breaks my heart to see what you are having to endure. I so wish I could carry some of that grief for you – could lighten your burden a little by bearing it myself. And with you, I am asking, ‘Why? Why did God allow this to happen?’
My dearest, I can’t answer that question. We never will be able to, until we see him face to face. But let me tell you a little of what I know to be true about God.
I know that you will remember this verse: ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him.’ I know you were brought up with it. But what does it mean? In the face of overwhelming pain, what comfort does it bring?
When you were a baby, I took you to the doctor to have you vaccinated. I couldn’t explain to you what was happening. I knew that the vaccination was in your best interest, but you didn’t. I had a bigger picture that you couldn’t see.
For many years, that is the explanation I would have given for that verse. God has the big picture. He knows best all the time. And so he permits pain and grief, because they are in our own best interest. But when I sat in that doctor’s surgery I discovered a depth to that verse that I had never understood before.
Because when I undid your tiny buttons, and held your little leg still for the needle, I wept along with you. Mine was not a cold knowledge of your greater good. It broke my heart to permit such pain on you. And suddenly I understood that God was not smiling blandly on the pain he knew to be essential. He was weeping with us, even as he allowed it.
For he is a father to you, and so much a better parent that I ever have been.
You will also remember this verse: ‘Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.’ Every tear you shed in the silent watches; every weight that drags on your heart; every wistful recollection: he has borne them all, already.
Trust him, my darling. Tell him your pain, your anger, your confusion. He knows it already, but like the great father than he is, he knows you will be healed by the telling.
And may you then be able to say with the prophet of old:
‘Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Saviour God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.’
You are in my prayers at all times.
God bless you, my darling,
Romans 8: 28 (New International Version)
Isaiah 53: 4 (New International Version)
Habakkuk 3: 17-19 (The Message)
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