Understand

Two years ago today my Dad went to be with Jesus. I often think about the fact that he understands things now in an entirely new way. Things that didn’t make sense here. Things that were difficult or challenging or unexplainable.

When I’m going through my own difficult and challenging and unexplainable things, I’m reminded that Dad knows that they have a purpose. I’ve always known God knows they have a purpose, but thinking about the fact that those who have gone ahead know it now too is reassuring.

I found the words to a song called “Some Time We’ll Understand” in an old hymnbook. It’s a hymnbook I found on my Dad’s office shelf. And I like to think that today, Dad is cheering me on. I can almost hear him saying, “Sharon, sometime you’ll understand.” And that gives me hope.

And so for now, I’ll keep trusting. And believing. And looking forward to the day when I understand as well.

Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be in a better land,
We’ll read the meaning of our tears,
And there, sometime, we’ll understand.

We’ll catch the broken thread again,
And finish what we here began;
Heav’n will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah, then, we’ll understand.

We’ll know why clouds instead of sun
Were over many a cherished plan;
Why song has ceased when scarce begun;
‘Tis there, some time, we’ll understand.

God knows the way, He holds the key,
He guides us with unerring hand;
Some time with tearless eye we’ll see;
Yes, there, up there, we’ll understand.

Chorus:
Then trust in God thro’ all the days;
Fear not, for He doth hold thy hand;
Though dark thy way, still sing and praise,
Some time, some time, we’ll understand.

Maxwell Cornelius, 1891
Written for the funeral of his wife

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Watching

I’ll never look at that plastic blue dustpan the same way again.

It was early Saturday morning. I was sitting on my couch thinking about the upcoming day. My houseguest was still asleep, but I was planning our time of sightseeing and fun around town. I looked out to the porch and saw some leaves that should be swept up, so I went to get my little blue dustpan from the hall closet. I hardly ever go in that closet. It’s not really a closet. It holds the air conditioner and the hot water heater. And my dustpan.

The dustpan God used to show me how He watches over me.

The dustpan was wet. And that’s when I looked down and saw about an inch of water in the pan under the hot water heater. I don’t know much about home emergencies, but I know that a leaking hot water heater is one of them. If I hadn’t seen the leaves on the porch, if I hadn’t decided to go get the dustpan so I could sweep them up, there’s a very good chance my apartment would have been flooded by the time we got back from sightseeing, and there’s a very good chance the lady who lives downstairs would have been very unhappy with me.

Some might say it was just fortunate coincidence that I went to get the little blue dustpan. But I think that so many things we write off as fortunate coincidences are really little acts of God in our lives. They probably happen everyday, but we just aren’t looking for them. I think God allowed me to see the leaves that needed to be swept up. Then He pointed me in the direction of the hall closet and the water and the potential disaster.

Sometimes bad things do happen and He works through those circumstances as well. Sometimes hot water heaters rupture before the leaks are found. But this time, mine didn’t. And even though I had to replace it and I went through every towel in my house to prevent the water from overflowing, I smiled to think how God watches over me.

And I’ll be reminded of that every time I get the little blue dustpan out of that closet.

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5

The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3

For His eyes are on the ways of man,
And He sees all his steps. Job 34:21

Past

I did that “end-of-the-year/beginning-of-the-year” thing last night. You know, when you take the old calendar and transfer all the important dates like birthdays and anniversaries over onto the new one? (I was a little late, but that’s because I was delayed getting back home after the winter weather up north. But that’s another story for another time.)

It’s sort of a ritual for me. And usually I’ll write a blog about looking at all the blank days of a fresh calendar and how I wonder what they’ll be filled in with by the time we get to the end of the year. But something different struck me last night.

I spent more time looking at the old calendar. The one from the past year.

I saw things I’d documented on it. Things like dinners with friends and meetings at church and out of town travel and parties and movies and happy days. I saw sad things, too. Things like a memorial service for a friend. Things that got crossed off because they didn’t really happen as planned.

And I realized that I could look forward to the new year because God had been faithful in the past one. He’d been faithful on the happy days. And faithful on the sad ones.

I heard the song “Be Still My Soul” last night while driving home from church. The second verse says,

“Be still my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

God will undertake to guide this new year, just like He did with the past one. And so that old calendar represents not just 12 months of my life, but 12 months of God’s faithfulness.

This year I’ll present the new calendar to God and ask Him to guide each day represented by a presently blank square. But I’m also presenting the old one to Him. With a grateful heart.

He’ll guide the future, as He has the past.

I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. Psalm 77:11

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion. Psalm 111:4

And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2