This summer I made a new friend.
Three-year old Titus.
His father, Daniel, is one of the pastors leading the Urban Youth Outreach in Englewood – a gang-plagued, violence ridden neighborhood of Chicago.
A gregarious little guy, Titus loves to talk and play with his older sister Arielle and all of the other neighborhood children who flock to the outreach play yard. With his charismatic personality and gift for gab, Titus is surely an evangelist-in-training.
One morning as he mingled with our mission team he showed off his finger with a dangling bandage. He bravely peeled back the adhesive strip to show each person his “owwie” long enough for each one to commiserate with him.
After several people had gotten a good look at his wound he smiled confidently. “That’s O.K. because owwies make you stronger.”
Suddenly, innocence deafened the world’s cacophony that had dulled my ears.
Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Are you listening? I am speaking.”
A truth renewed.
Trials make you stronger.
Pain can be a stimulus for growth.
And when rooted in the Word and will of God, perseverance in trial brings hope.
And perhaps most importantly, as children of God, we are never alone in our sufferings.
Years ago, I endured a season of brokenness. I felt completely worn. As my young daughter lay in the hospital, critically ill with a failing heart I searched the scriptures for a word to sustain me. God did not disappoint. He led me to 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; (just breath, child, He whispers)
perplexed, but not in despair; (don’t over analyze, inhale my peace)
persecuted, but not abandoned (relax in my love, I am right beside you)
struck down, but not destroyed (my hand will lift you up, I will protect you).”
The word of truth forever sealed in my heart.
But Love heals.
Love is waiting. Embrace the truth.