This is the view that inspired my mom to say, "I love the big tree outside my window and the country scene in the background--it is beautiful in each season." This provided me the title for the devotional I wrote for Mom, and is a good way to think about the stages of our lives; Beautiful in Each Season.
In the wake of placing my mom into nursing home are back in August of 2016, I'm just now emerging from a time of exhaustion and grief that almost certainly has had an element of depression mixed in. I've learned that pain is not an anomaly, nor is grief something of which to be ashamed. Scripture speaks of suffering in a matter-of-fact way:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you...(1 Peter 4:12).
And Jesus spoke of what we can expect:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV).
Sometimes the enemy whispers that when we live our Christian beliefs, we paint a target on our foreheads for the devil. This is a lie of the most devious sort, because in the first place, everyone has trouble in this world, and in the second place, failure to live our Christian beliefs robs us of the sweetest solace imaginable: Christ with us. God is sovereign over everything that happens to us, and He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). Good things happen to good and bad people. And bad things happen to good and bad people. The very best we can do is to abide in the Lord so that we may have the sweetness of His presence, the blessing of His provision, and hope for the future, even in the midst of sorrow.
This morning I snapped the photo above, brightened the photo, applied a filter, and sent it to my daughter with this message, "I love the view from Grandma's window, but I wonder if it will ever seem right without her here with us to enjoy that view?"
While I waited for my daughter's reply I looked at the photo and thought, "I've made this look even better than in real life; maybe this is what it will look like when we get to Heaven."
And at that very moment my daughter replied, "When she gets to Heaven her view will be SO much better than that...she won't be missing anything!"
In Christ we have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.* He is faithful.
*From the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. You can listen to Chris Rice sing it here.