Many thoughtful words of encouragement and messages of hope were given to us throughout those challenging weeks following Joe’s accident. One of those was this…
These colorings done by some of the children at church have graced the wall in our living room for the last two and a half months. They were sent home with us the first Sunday Joe, Hannah, Joseph and I all came to church together. I just took them down yesterday. They were a beautiful reminder of the message the children learned that day. I dug up that lesson and copied it here for you to read:
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Romans 5: 3-5 (NIV)
This morning I have brought a string of pearls. Do you know where pearls come from? They come from oysters. An oyster is a shellfish that lives in the ocean. They have a very hard shell that protects them, but sometimes something like a small grain of sand can get inside the shell and it causes a lot of pain and discomfort for the oyster.God has given the oyster a way to ease that pain. When a grain of sand gets in there, the oyster oozes out a liquid that coats the grain of sand and then it hardens. The oyster keeps doing this over and over until the grain of sand no longer causes pain. This is how these pearls are made. Something that started out being painful turned into something very beautiful and valuable.The same thing happens to us. Sometimes something comes into our life that causes a lot of hurt and pain. When that happens, God gives us something to help ease the pain. He gives us His love. If we ask Him to, He will ooze out His love to ease our pain and suffering. Often what started out to be very painful in our life can turn into something beautiful.Dear Lord, we thank you that when we have pain and hurts in our life, you ooze out your love to ease the pain. Help us to remember that you can take the most painful hurts in our lives and turn them into something beautiful. Amen.
Yes, we were certainly going through a difficult time, but to be reminded of God’s love with the oyster analogy was a wonderful – and appreciated – thing. I drew a lot of wisdom from those verses in Romans. It’s not easy to rejoice in any kind of suffering, but to rejoice and praise God no matter what the circumstances are, is a pretty big challenge as a follower of Christ. I love the picture painted in my mind by that cycle – or progression – of suffering, perseverance, character and hope. I know I struggle sometimes, and I believe that our experiences and our trials are meant to grow us, and if we go about it the right way, help mold us into the people God wants us to be. Suffering brings about hope. Hope. I love that word, don’t you?
The one with the heart is Hannah’s. She told the teacher at children’s church that, “I don’t need to put my name on it. My daddy will know which one I did.” Yes, he could probably tell by all the different shades of pink!
I think I’ll hold onto this one…