I finished my post and walked into the kitchen. The timer went off, signaling my pot roast was done. I pulled the pan from the oven, sat it down on the stove top, and turned to rummage through my cupboard for a platter. Without thinking, I turned back to transfer the roast to the platter and grabbed the piping-hot, stainless steel handles of the pan with my bare hands… AAAAHHH! I let out a scream that caused my husband and children to flock to its source. They found me huddled over the sink in wincing pain, with two seared hands underneath the cold water tap.
You couldn’t miss the irony of the moment.
Just one click and a couple minutes past my blog post on “power praying” that left me feeling confident and strong. Now, one thoughtless act later, I’m a muddled mess of hurting pain and utter weakness, not even able to eat the food I spent all afternoon cooking. I couldn’t help feeling it was the Devil’s payback for sending that post. That thought came in and mocked me for a minute. Then, I decided it didn’t change the truth of the post or the power we do have in prayer. I cast the thought out and turned my attention to the problem at hand (no pun intended). I spent all evening trying a variety of home remedies. Hours of cold water and a bag of frozen fruit were my mainstays, undergirded by my prayers for relief. I went to bed bandaged on both hands, feeling certain I would have repercussions for days to follow.
Isn’t this typical of how life works? One step forward, one step back. Rise and fall, rise again. We never know what a moment will bring, and we never know what is coming next. As soon as we open our mouths (or hit send), we are tested to “take our own medicine” and “practice what we preach”.
My experiences this week have continued to affirm this. There are days when it seems that nothing works right. I had one of those days on Monday. I tried to get gas, but the pumps were frozen. I tried to make a bank deposit, but there were no envelopes. I tried to get an ice cream with my daughter, but the machine was down. These are the days when we wish we had just stayed home. We pray we will make it home safely.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Israel 43:1-3).
I was quite surprised by how well my hands looked the next morning. Just a few days later, I only have a small blister on one finger. The burn was not as bad as the pain made it seem. My thoughts and emotions were actually the bigger threat.
Yesterday, I got a call that my mother was taken to the hospital. She is confused and unable to speak; it looks like she has had a mild stroke. I fought feelings of sadness and fear when I saw her struggling to communicate at the hospital last night. I looked down at my bandaged blister, remembering the lessons from the week. God is the God of all our moments. He is with me in this moment. He is my God who promises the fire will not burn and the fleeting rivers of life will not sweep me away. I look back at my mother. I see her frustration, her fight against the fall into frailty – the reality in this life. I pray for the strength to convey the power of His indestructible life. That she will see Him in me, this God of all Comfort and Hope who calls us by name. The torrents of my emotions begin to subside as I concentrate on this moment, and pray that she will know the peace I know in Him who leads to the home that is truly home.