As I write this, Calvin seems better. His downward spiral after some routine surgery led to the vet calling me during my 8th grade logic class. Either he had serious neurological problems or he was a member of a tiny percentage of cats allergic to that particular antibiotic.  Dr. Crist gently mentioned, “If this is a neurological issue, euthanasia might be the kindest option.”

As the tears welled up and I reached for tissues, my 24 budding adults didn’t know quite what to do.  Through sniffles and a tight throat, I explained what the vet had said and what God was teaching me through this experience.  Friday was another day colored by difficult circumstances that had been unfolding during the past two weeks.  Even before my mind absorbed the possibility of actually losing Calvin, God had been teaching me.

Negative lessons:

  • Functionally, I am addicted to a problem-free life.
  • I act as if my pets and family members are mine.
  • The more I need circumstances to go my way, the less I have of real peace.
  • I need trials and difficult circumstances to wean me off of false and damaging ideas.

Positive lessons:

  • I am a steward of anything that I previously looked at as ‘mine.’
  • I am here on Earth to do my Master’s bidding.
  • My desires for peace, health, comfort, rest are good and legitimate and given to me by God.  Where I go wrong is in expecting that they will be satisfied my way here on Earth.  But in heaven, I will be bowled over by how they are met.
  • If I have been bought (redeemed) and forgiven by God because of Jesus’ work on my behalf, then I have a new full-time and life-long calling.  I am a soldier AND ambassador in the Lord’s army.  My orientation must change.  It is no longer Maria’s life and Maria’s agenda and Maria’s desires.  I am a servant.
  • I am to put on HIS clothes and armor each day before going out to share the terms of peace with the remaining rebels who haven’t heard the news about the Conquering King.
  • I wear my wedding invitation to the divine, heavenly banquet.  When Maria died and was reborn by the Holy Spirit, her admittance to the Eternal Party was woven and sewn into her new self.  The blood-written letters lovingly spell out what awaits me.  One day I will be ushered into the presence of the Lamb and the Father.  It is THEN that I can relax.
  • In the meantime, like Jesus demonstrated 2000 years ago, my expectation should be to strip my cumbersome robe of Maria’s agenda, wrap a towel around my waist and wash the feet of those in my path.

Reading and personalizing an Andrew Murray quote on acquiescing to God’s sovereignly-sent trials has helped me.  I summarize what he wrote with 4 prepositions –   By, In, Under, For.

These troubled waters (picture roily seas like the kind Peter walked on) have been sent to me


And what are troubled waters? –  Any circumstance that I don’t like, such as

– problems and disappointments

– delays and frustrations

– trouble and disaster

– sickness and death

– even evil

In short – unmet expectations.

Yet, I act and feel surprised when calm waters evaporate. I shouldn’t.  After all, didn’t Jesus affirm that we would have troubles in this life?  Why do I work so hard to avoid what is inevitable in a fallen world?

As bleak as the above might seem, we can take hope.  These trials are NOT a cosmic ‘whoops’.   God IS in charge.  The Fall is not a surprise.  He has ordained it and is using it for His purposes – His Good purposes.  We can trust Him.

So like Peter, to the extent that we keep our eyes and thoughts fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and trust Him to walk with us through the Valley and through rough waters, we will grow in experiencing His true peace.  NOT the peace that depends on circumstances.

PS:  If our desires won’t be satisfied until the next life, shouldn’t we be coaching our kids how to delay gratification?