Blessings in Disguise

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption...the redemption of our body. For in hope were we saved: if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered...we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:22-28 exc. ASV

A little book by Philip Yancey once helped me understand the role of suffering in our universe, and I am re-reading it in light of this new trial. He points out that pain is a useful, necessary part of a warning system that was actually designed for our greater good in the beginning. Without pain, I would work so hard after this surgery that I would tear open my incision, do permanent damage to my swollen nerves by straining to speak, or worse. It is unlikely that I would have the full use of my body or my senses if I had not had the sense of pain to protect me for my 29 years. I am struck by the hidden blessing of my suffering - it is a welcome wake-up call that I delight to receive as I go about with my head down, hand to the plow. I could easily become so busy with school and the work of raising my children and keeping my house that I would not even absorb the daily blessings He showers down upon me. I am thankful that God is using this trial to slow me down, force me to take those deep breaths, force me to take my eyes off my work and let the beauty of my life permeate deep into my soul.

Work is another blessing in disguise. Today was Aaron's first day back at work, and it is back to work as usual for me as well. The motherly duties of dressing, bathing, feeding, and performing "poop patrol" (as we jokingly call it when all four kids need wiping at once!) all came crashing down on me about 6 a.m. this morning! It is nearly impossible to wallow in self-pity and despair with these cheerful, whistling, singing, dancing little ones twirling through my day! It seems that God has me looking up, soaking in the vista, then hands back on the plow and off we go behind the horses, plowing up another row!

"Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening.

O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions." Psalm 104:23-24 NASB