Having just put in a flower bed, my husband and I were looking for affordable cedars to plant it with. After pricing them at nearby nurseries, we finally decided on some that were 15$ per tree. They were bare-root, and the four-foot trees looked more like buggy whips than anything else; but we realized we were destined to either pay more than we could afford or have ‘buggy whips’ in our new border bed. Compared to the price we’d have to pay elsewhere, we figured the trees would grow.
On a whim, I went on an internet website dedicated towards helping in the exchange of goods. I typed “White Cedars” into the search bar, and you can imagine my pleasant surprise when my search came up with a private nursery nearby that had beautiful trees in pots for 8$ apiece….
It all made me think. So often when we look at the facts in front of us, we tend to take them at face value. It is what it is. And just like we had resigned ourselves to ugly trees because we couldn’t afford to pay for nicer ones, we look at the circumstances life has landed in our laps, and though we don’t like them, we know we have to learn to live with them. And so we proceed, slipping deeper and deeper into the ‘buggy whips’ of worry and despair, anger and fear, regret and depression….
But we didn’t just accept those ‘buggy whip’ cedars at face value. We proceeded to search farther, and in the end, we found something much better and much more affordable.
True enough, life’s circumstances are far uglier than those ‘buggy whips’ that paraded as cedar trees…. And of course, we certainly had the option of not buying trees at all, whereas we aren’t usually given a choice about the circumstances…. And our research did lead us to something that wasn’t painful at all, something that is impossible with life’s circumstances…. So what comfort is this?
Just this: Though we can’t just choose to not go through troubled times, and though there are no different, less painful option, there is something we can choose to do: We can choose to let God be in charge of our circumstances. We can choose to rejoice in Him–despite the circumstances, and we can choose to leave the future in HIS hands, not our own!
I received some bad news this week. I saw a specialist who suggested that many of the problems I’m experiencing at the moment may actually be the early signs of MS. Needless to say, I left the office in tears.
God got through to me, however, as I was getting on the local highway. He reminded me that I could have chosen to buy those expensive, ugly trees; but instead, I found something much better and cheaper. He then put it in my mind that in the same way, I could choose to take this particular set of circumstances at face value, or I could seek something better. He suggested to me that my joy isn’t tied up in good health, but rather, it comes from being in HIS presence. He called to my mind Neh. 8:10b: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (NIV) Then He took it one step farther…. He showed me that my tears were rooted in fear of what might happen in the future, and He assured me that He, and not some obscure medical diagnosis, is in charge of my future. Then came the final reminder: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 NIV) No matter what the future might bring, my God will never leave me or forsake me. MS or no, He will walk with me every step of the way. And if I let Him, His joy will be my strength.
I choose the cheaper trees. I choose to live in the moment, drawing my joy from His presence. I choose to let Him be in charge of my future, ever knowing that no matter what may come, He will walk with me, and His joy will be my strength!
Expensive ‘buggy whip’ cedars?
No thanks! I’m going for the pretty kind that saves me money…
What about you? Will it be expensive, ugly trees of worry and anger and despair? Or will you let God help carry you through whatever it is you face?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.