My Dad gave me a few of my Grandma’s old photo albums the other day. When I looked through them it was like taking a step back in time. It was so incredible to see my brothers, my Mom, my Dad, and my Grandma all looking so young. And on some pages I even saw a smiling six year old boy with my face staring up at me in sweet innocence.
I wondered what that boy would think if he could see what would happen to him during the next 40 years. He would have his home burn down in the middle of the night and lose everything he owned before he was 12. As a young man he would watch his Mom fight a losing battle with cancer and die far before her time. He would see his Grandma slowly lose her health and her memories to dementia before passing away as well.
He would graduate college but still struggle financially for many years because he refused to move away from the family and community he loved. He would have two sons who everyday must live with the challenges of Autism. He would deal daily physical pain from an injured back. And he would suffer emotional pain too from all he had lost and all he had gone through. Yet, in spite of it all he would look back on the life he had lived so far and thank God for it, because it had helped him become who he needed to be.
Just as God writes straight with crooked lines, He also takes the many twists and turns in our lives and uses them to help us to become the people we were meant to be. Without all of that pain, struggle, and loss I would never have become who I am now. I would never have been able to love as deeply, to help others as much, or to appreciate life as fully as I do today.
When I look at that boy in the pictures I wouldn’t trade a second of his life. Even when his heart was broken again and again he never walled it up from the world. Instead he allowed his love to flow freely through the cracks. Every time he stumbled and fell along the way he took God’s hand, rose up, and tried again. And no matter how difficult the path he traveled got, he still walked it with a loving heart and a joyous spirit.
No matter what you have gone through in this life, no matter how many troubles you have faced and agonies you have suffered know that God can use them all for good. God can ease your heartaches with wisdom. God can heal your pain with love. God can temper your trials with joy. God can help you to help others as well. God can guide you to become the person you needed to be in this life and in the life to come.