As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Friday, December 1, 2006

Why so Hard?

I cannot count the number of times I've heard myself ask the question, "Why do things have to be so hard?" I've heard it from my daughter's mouth when she was trying to master multiplication and division. I've heard it from my husband's mouth during home renovation projects. I've heard it from my son when he was working on getting his ankles together for diving. AND, I've heard it from numerous peopel outside my family, too. I've always sort of shrugged and said, "That's the way life works." However, today, I got the revelation of why things are really so hard.

On Monday I was going to do art with the children, and I was looking for my favorite art book. I couldn't find it. Tuesday found me pulling all the books off the shelves in the sunroom where we do school when weather permits. Wednesday I searched through my stash of books in the garage along with a pile of educaitonal posters I had dumped out there. Yesterday I cleaned the study, checked both children's rooms, and went through the book case in the living room book by book. I couldn't find it. In the meantime, I started looking for another book, and it, too, seems to have vanished into air.

Finally, today, I decided I would just buy another art book. It wasn't hugely expensive, and it was my favorite art book. A bookstore near me is having a sale tomorrow, and I would be there anyway. I'd just pick up another copy then. As for the other book, it wasn't a big deal, and I could probably find the information I needed elsewhere. It would have just been convenient.

As I took one last look around the sunroom and tried to remember the last place I saw the book, I remembered seeing the book was when we had painted as a family. We had used new paint techniques to make some very neat paintings of the ocean. Suddenly, I began to feel that small sense of "Oh no!". It occurred to me that in all my looking, I had not found those pictures either. These were not ordinary pictures. The children had done fantastic work, and I loved those pictures. They were irreplaceable.

At that moment, my motivation shifted from being a bit inconvenienced to an urgency of purpose. I had to find the pictures. Quickly, I reviewed all the places where I had already made a meticulous search. Then I shifted focus to the places where I had "looked" but not searched. We had recycled so much and given away so much in the last few weeks...."Dear God, please let me find those pictures," I said as I walked into the garage and flipped on the light. As I looked around, I saw the only place that had gotten merely a "once over"--the pile of posters. Immediately, I got on my knees and started to carefully pull posters off the top of the pile.

About halfway through, I found a bunch of smaller papers, and as I pulled out the small pile, the missing art book slid out and tumbled to the floor. "Thank you for the book. Please let me find those pictures." The book that had been the source of such frustration all week meant nothing now. My heart was on the pictures. As I moved a pile of sorted papers that had been turned sideways, I caught a glimpse of the ocean blue for which I was looking. After moving two more sorted piles, there were the irreplaceable pictures. A wave of relief and gratitude swept over me. "Oh, God," I said as I sat back on my legs, "Thank you."

As I walked into the kitchen, the children saw the book in my hand and were excited that we would be able to do some more art projects. "Mom, where did you find it?" my daughter asked.

I smiled, "With something I couldn't replace."

It was then that the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Jerri, sometimes I have to push you to the point where you cannot afford to lose because finding me isn't convenient. I have to push you to the point where you are desparate for you to find what you really need or even what you are looking for. I have to push you beyond you for you to search hard enough to find me."

May things be hard enough to push us beyond convenience to desperately searching for Him....

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