It started the first full night of 2018. One single chirp every fifteen seconds. Only between the hours of 12 am and 3 am. We’d tried everything to get the smoke detector to cease its incessant warning chirp. Of course, it started with the smoke detector on our cathedral ceiling, because it was a negative seven degrees outside and we needed our extension ladder to reach the blasted thing. We changed the battery and went back to bed. An hour later—chirp! Another smoke detector started. We replaced the battery in every single smoke detector. Chirp! We unplugged them, reset the circuit breakers, and hit the test button (which woke up the kids). Chirp!
Four nights in a row the same thing. I struggled into work with toothpicks holding my eyelids open and my brain only firing in safe mode to discover our financial software had crashed and couldn’t be restored without an expensive upgrade. I opened my email to a rejection letter saying they were going to have to pass on my story. This was not how I envisioned starting off 2018.
It was the beginning of a new era …
God’s own son had entered the earth. Hope filled the world with the promise of a savior. Shepherds and wise men traveled to see baby Jesus and even brought gifts. Everything seemed right with the world.
Joseph shakes Mary out of a deep sleep. Jesus is cuddled at her side. He’d had another dream. An angel came to him again and told him to take Mary and the baby and flee to Egypt. Herod was going to try to kill Jesus.
Isn’t the hard part over?
The savior was born. Shouldn’t things run smoothly now?
God never promised life would be easy. In fact, Jesus himself said the opposite. “In this life, you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” I’m not an expert on why bad things happen. I know, by God allowing us to have free will, mankind has made unwise choices. It started with our not obeying God’s command and eating of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil. (Enter evil, stage left.) But, God doesn’t try to tell us life will be all rainbows and unicorns. He tells us to prepare for battle and gives us the tools to fight. (See Ephesians 6:13-18.)
ewyIt is through struggles that we obtain a better understanding of who we are. It’s how our character is forged. It’s hard to grasp when you are in the heat of the fight. But then a lull comes, and we can look back. We discover the changes we’ve undergone and the strength we’ve derived from combat.
Just remember, God will not give us more than we can handle. Having three boys, I’ve often thought, God must see something in me that I don’t see in myself. Even when I doubt, He’s always given me the faith I need to continue on. Sometimes it’s in the form of a running charge. Other times, it’s crawling on my knees, but he’s always beside me urging me forward.
God’s whisper into my heart cannot be drowned out by the doubts screaming in my mind, but I have to choose to listen. I know it can be difficult to comprehend when you’re on the floor of your bathroom saying, enough, please enough, but God will pull you through. He will hold you up with his righteous right hand. All you need to do is hold on.
It may not be an easy ride, but the end result will be well worth it.
Psalm 30:5 “… Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
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