“I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:6b-7)
We’ve discovered an intruder in our house—the four-legged variety that likes cheese and chaos.
This is no ordinary field mouse, however. This one has had ninja training. Despite our best efforts to ensnare it overnight, it extricated itself from a glue trap and polished off two peanut-butter-covered pretzel sticks in the process.
Which means, it’s still lurking somewhere under our floorboards.
Rats. I want to return my house to normal, but until this tiny varmint is apprehended, I’m in a holding pattern.
The escapade launched my morning with grumpiness and complaining…until I picked up the annual report from Samaritan’s Purse during my quiet time.
Samaritan’s Purse is an extraordinary organization (led by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Dr. Billy Graham) that meets the physical and spiritual needs of people in crisis around the globe. Its staff members provide a “cup of water” in the name of Jesus Christ.1
Their stories put my quest for a normalcy into perspective, reminding me of what “normal days” might look like for others in need.
If you live in Haiti, “normal” means frequently feeling the earth move under your feet. At any time, the constant earthquakes can topple your house down upon you…leaving you and your loved ones homeless, injured, or dead.
In South Sudan, “normal” can mean living in a refugee camp far from home, surviving raids by terrorists, or searching to find scarce food.
For those who continue to hunker down in Ukraine, the new “normal” is hearing gunfire and explosions, wondering if the next missile will arrive on your doorstep.
In the Philippines, typhoon season begins in August—a daily opportunity to have your house, business, and family completely blown away.
Um…where I live? This little mouse is really a mouse-sized problem. And, it’s actually pretty normal to have a mouse in the house around here.
Plus, there’s no such a thing as a normal day anyway.
What’s hard to comprehend about God is that He is sovereign over all things. Good days and bad days. Trials and blessings. Giants and rodents. And everything in between.
How do we worship a God who lets catastrophe and destruction exist alongside sunshine and flowers? Who tolerates a world where hatred threatens to snuff out lovingkindness?
How do we find His peace when our days are far from the normalcy we wistfully desire?
British missionary J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) had some good thoughts for us. In his quest to take the gospel to China, Taylor’s life was fraught with hardships, setbacks, and deaths. Yet he understood the importance of trusting God, saying, “When I cannot read, when I cannot think, when I cannot even pray, I can trust.”
Taylor also realized he wouldn’t succeed unless he began his day in God’s presence, asking for guidance, strength, and refuge for the hours of need ahead. “Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards,” Taylor advised. “Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”2
A third commitment for us is to rejoice in every problem that comes our way. In Scripture, James tells us to “count it all joy” whenever we fall into various trials (James 1:2). And the apostle Paul orders us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). There’s no getting around it.
If you’re having a rough day—dealing with problems that range from inconvenient to overwhelmingly tragic—seek the arms of the Lord. Trust in His grace, pour out your needs to Him in prayer, and rejoice in the midst of the trials. He is there with you, to weather every storm.
Through His Spirit, He will turn your elephant-sized troubles into little mice.
Holy God, we don’t understand when You let hardships come into our daily lives…when disease, war, and disasters strike. But You have promised us that Your plans are for our good, to give us a future and hope. Help us to daily trust in You and rejoice in all things. Keep Your presence with us, O God, our Refuge and our Strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1My previous blog mentioning Samaritan’s Purse: https://lightbournecreative.com/2021/08/23/the-privileged-life-a-cup-of-water-in-jesus-name/