Tasting the water of affliction


The clouds chase each other across the cadet blue of the afternoon sky, and kids bend to pick up rocks and toss them back into Superior's frigid waves.


I hold Amy's hand as she tries, unsteadily, to place a rock on the tower her siblings are building.


I set her down and she sits stiffly between her two little guardians, the older sisters who flank her always and tenderly watch out for the myriad dangers and hurts that linger in the wings of every ordinary day.


Her kalamata olive eyes dance tawny in the gold of the afternoon sun.  I am thinking of orphans, and sick babies in hospitals...all the mission fields abandoned for the one of hearth and home.  She teaches me, in new ways daily, whatever I do for this little one, I do for Christ. (Matthew 25:40) There is no abandoning of mission when I am solidly on the path He has laid before me.  More and more, we are faced with the gut-wrenching decisions, what to hold her back from, what to let her try (and so often fail, fall, and hurt for).  Where to let her stretch her wings and when to hold her close.  So many times, too, when there is no decision even to be made, as she lays like a plank in our arms, spilling over the bounds of our laps and stretching the muscles in our back taut with her 33 pounds of seizing body.  So many times that she is choking, gagging, stumbling, stuck saying one word over and over, cannot play, laugh, run, walk, smile, soothe.  This path, like the other mission paths He's called me to, is the kind that breaks your heart open and spills it out...spills out all the love you've hedged in there, and all the pain, too.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. (from Isaiah 30)