It's late afternoon, and it's quiet in the house. I am alone with a happily nursing baby. The older three children are outside with Daddy while he does some yard work before the sun goes down. Suddenly, the door bursts open, and the loud wails of an unhappy seven year old echo down the hall. I assume some minor injury has brought about this obvious over-reaction, or perhaps the typical "so-and-so took my such-and-such." But no, this time Donny is in distress for a different reason.
"Daddy is cutting down my favorite tree!" he cries. "MAKE HIM STOP!"
The peace of the afternoon is shattered. I spend the next half hour attempting to calm, console, and explain the situation to my eldest child. Donny has a tendency to, well, over-react, and we generally try to discourage such unnecessary drama. At the same time, I don't want to brush off his concerns entirely. Several months ago, when a logging company came to clear the land next to our house, he had a similar day of distress over the felling of the trees. Though that is now forgotten, Daddy taking the chainsaw to a young oak in the yard has brought the tears rushing back.
I attempt to explain that Daddy surely had a reason for cutting down the small sapling; we have to trust him. Even though Donny liked it, it wasn't his tree. It wasn't his choice. Daddy was trying to clear the land completely, and this oak was not part of his plans. We don't plan to live in this house forever, so eventually, we would be leaving it behind anyway. And really, truly, this is not such a big deal. It's just a tree.
As I speak, I can't help but see how my advice applies to my own life. How often do I burst into literal or figurative tears over something that, in the grand scheme of things, really is trivial? A screaming baby, an angry spouse, noisy children who refuse to listen, a throbbing headache, my inability to conquer the laundry mountain - these moments can be for me what the chainsaw was to Donny. Compared to someone else's problem, they are nothing. But in the dusk of the moment, I want to cry out, "Make it stop!"
Eventually, Daddy comes in, brushes the wood dust off his shirt, and sits down on the couch beside the now-calm boy. He explains why he cut down the small tree. In vivid strokes, he paints a picture of the yard he wants to create - a place of plush grass where the children can run and jump and play ball. To achieve the dream, the tree had to be sacrificed.
Again, my heart is stirred with empathy. What dreams does my Father have for me that I am too small and foolish to understand? All my crying and complaining over my petty sorrows is so fruitless, and only blocks me from seeing what He is doing in my life. Sometimes to achieve it, pain must come. Things must die. Sin must be uprooted. And even if the problem seems miniscule to everyone else, it hurts. Yet my Father has a beautiful plan, if only I can look past the sticks and stumps of sorrow to see it.
And so I pray that when the trials of life are crashing around me, and my own selfish sorrows threaten to overwhelm, may I curl up in the arms of my loving Father, and trust that He will work it out for good. Whether my difficulties are real or imagined, something better is coming. My Daddy loves me, and I trust that He knows best.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17