Like the pensive mother I am, I dutifully watched the clock and the driveway looking for my long legged daughter. As an hour came and passed, I started to become increasingly uncomfortable with her absence and decided to take my invalid dog on a walk down the lane, thinking "Surely, she will be arriving any minute. I will just go and meet her."
I walked the dog just as far as his newly built knee would take him, then with my heart pounding in my ears, I took him back to his kennel and yelled into the house saying I was going to drive the route and look for Tess. I had tried to call her but she did not answer and I figured she probably didn't have her phone with her anyway.
As I entered the highway from our driveway, I was beginning to panic. I was visualizing the homeless guy grabbing my beautiful daughter and dragging her away. And then I said, "Tori, get a hold of yourself! She is probably fine. Maybe she got lost." But in my mind, I knew she wouldn't be lost since she had run the same way with me just the week previous.
I got about two miles from home and still did not see her running along the road, on the sidewalk, or anywhere. So I just yelled to God, "OK. I don't know what to do now, God. What do I do now, God? What do I do in this situation, LORD? You know! Help me! Help me!" I was now in full panic mode and ready to call in the SWAT team to rescue my baby.
Then my phone rang and a sweet picture of Tess showed on the display. I answered it shouting, "Where are you?!" Her familiar (and unconcerned) voice said, "Hi Mom, I'm almost home. We just passed you." She was unaware of my near heart attack state as she nonchalantly replied, "Yeah, a friend is dropping me off. I decided to stay at school and run with some friends instead of running home." As my heartbeat normalized, I said, "Next time, Tess, you must call me! I didn't know where you were! You scared me!" "OK, Mom", she replied and promptly hung up the phone.
When I got home again, Tess had already arrived and was sitting in the office waiting for me. "Here I am!" said the almost-missing person. I approached her with my unshed tears, put her face in my hands, and whispered, "Tess, you are precious to us, and we don't ever want to lose you." And as tears started to well up in her eyes, she said, "I'm sorry, Mom. I won't do it again."
I don't really know why I am telling you this story. Maybe it's therapy for me. But really, what would have I done if I hadn't found Tess? What would I have done had God not graciously answered my request with lightening quick speed? What would have I done if Tess really had been missing? Would I still trust the God that allowed that to happen? Would I still call on Him for help if my prayer had been seemingly ignored? Would I still abide in Him if He let something bad happen to one of my precious ones?
I hope that I don't have to find out the answer to this question. I hope that God chooses to protect my children from the evil of this world. But bad things happen. And sometimes God allows us to suffer. We don't understand the purpose of this because we can't see the big picture like He can. We can't really see the end goal. We have an idea of what God wants us to be like, but we aren't fully aware of what it will take to get us there. The making of a holy life sometimes involves great sorrow.
I know that God is Good. I know that He is Trustworthy. I can feel it in my bones that He is Real. I must spend time at His feet daily, hourly, second by second until I can do nothing else but trust His judgement. I must do this now, when normality is bliss, so that when the tide threatens to drown me in it's fury, I can hold onto my Rock of Salvation.
My old buddy O.C. says "I need to believe God is always the God I know Him to be when I am nearest to Him." I will take his advice. I will abide in God's Sovereignty now. I will learn to trust Him when the going is good, so when things turn sour, He remains sweet.
O Lord Jesus, may it be so.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him."