Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Some Thoughts for Today . . .
Several years back, I had written this post over on my old journal on AOL journals, an address to a friend that was going through a bit of a rough patch. I have kept it, and have found it to be a large comfort for myself over these past few difficult weeks. I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you this morning . . .
I have been fairly lucky in this life of mine. So far, I have yet to be touched by deep tragedy. I've had some problems, yes . . . but nothing I couldn't handle. I suppose that some people might think that having lost Thirty thousand dollars on the sale of our house back in the 1990's and having to live in a two bedroom rented house with five children, a husband suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, two cats, and a brother and sister in law living in an RV in the drive could have seemed tragic to some . . . and to be honest, at the time it did seem to be a very difficult situation I found myself in . . . but I've been very lucky in that, no matter what life has thrown at me through the years, I've been able to find my place with God in the midst of my troubles. Perhaps that is one of the talents I've been given . . . I don't really know, but I do know it has been a great blessing to me.
Back in the early 1960's, my Todd suffered one of the worst tragedies that can befall a parent. His infant son, only 18 months old, passed away very suddenly, the result of a reaction to aspirin which Todd and his then wife had given their baby boy to help to control a raging fever. Back then, very little was known about the dangers of giving children aspirin. It was a common thing to give your children aspirin when they had fevers. Unfortunately . . . Todd's son had a particular sensitivity to Salicylic acid. As a parent, it is tragic to lose a child . . . but to lose one because of something you, yourself, have done . . . well, that must be the most heartbreaking experience of all. One truly has to wonder where is God's hand in things like this, and why does God allow things like this to happen. It must truly shake one's faith to the core . . . it shook Todd's faith to the core.
I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time at the moment. She is having trouble finding God's face in all of it. I sometimes don't know what to tell her. Oh . . . I can speak in platitudes and tell her that God is always there for her. I can pray for her, and . . . I am. But I can't really show her God's face and help her to feel His presence, and that, as a friend . . . is very hard. It's hard to see someone you love and care about going through such troubles, and sometimes, even I have to wonder why. I can only say that, this too, shall pass . . . and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We don't always understand why life knocks some of us really hard, and yet seemingly leaves others untouched. It doesn't always seem fair, and at times, it seems that those with faith get knocked even harder.
There is a scripture that I love, and it is one that helped to carry me through the hardships I encountered when my last marriage broke up. I had gone from living in our family home with all of my children around me, to living in a rented room in a stranger's house, all by myself. There were some very dark days for me and days where I did indeed wonder where the face of God was. I had done the right thing in standing up for my faith and for what I believed in, and yet . . . there were some days I felt like I was being punished for having done what I believed had been the right thing to do. There were days it felt that I had paid a very hefty price for my faith, and . . . it didn't always seem fair to me.
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad."
What that verse is saying, is that in order to bring to pass righteousness, the Lord's plan allows for wickedness. In order for God's children to appreciate joy, they must also be subject to misery. To accomplish the purposes of God . . . there must indeed be "an opposition" in all things. Our adversities are all a part of that opposition, as difficult and as unfair as that may seem to be.
"We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well being, or joy."
~Howard W Hunter
Like the mortal life of which they are a part . . . adversities are temporary. What is permanent nowever, is what we become by the way we react to them. Our responses to all the rocks that life throws at us will inevitably shape our souls . . . and ultimately determine our status in eternity. Because opposition is divinely decreed for the purpose of helping us to grow, we have the assurances of our Heavenly Father that, in the long view of eternity, our troubles will not be allowed to overcome us, if we persevere in faith. We will prevail. Good will overcome. There is always light at the end of the tunnel . . . even though we cannot always see it. So, for my friend, I have no real answsers as to why tragedy has chosen to test her faith now, and why all seems to be going wrong. I cannot show her the face of God in all of this. I can only assure her that God is there, and that eventually some good will come from it all.
Paul taught that, "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)
We cannot always choose the obstacles we face, but we can always decide whether we will allow them to discourage and pull us down, or lead us to a closer dependance upon our Saviour. Somewhere in all the challenges we face and need to go through, there will be small miracles and blessings, if only we will look for them and allow ourselves to find them. This too shall pass, and at the end shall emerge a butterfly who has been tested and torn, but whose wings shall help to carry us above the frailties of this earth into a far better place.
And so while these words I wrote to my friend all those years ago were written to give her some sense of peace and calm . . . today they have gifted me with that very same peace and calm that I now require.
I do not know what tomorrow brings, nor even what next month brings, but I do have my Todd and I do have my Faith and with those things and the strength of the Gospel in my life, I know we will be ok, as hard and as difficult as things may seem at the present.
We are leaving for Chester in the morning. I will not be in touch with a computer at all where we will be so I won't be able to leave you any words until I return next week. I hope that when I do I will have something wondrous to share with you, and in the meantime I thank you most humbly from the bottom of my heart for all of your happy thoughts and prayers and wishes. They truly do mean the world to me.
Here is a tasty little cake to share with you this morning. These are really wonderfully tasty and always warmly received!
*Baby Banoffee Cakes*
Tender and moist little banana cakes stuffed with caramel and sliced bananas, then topped off with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. These are pretty special.
6 TBS butter, softened, plus 2 tsp
1/2 cup firmly packed soft light brown sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2/3 cup mashes very ripe bananas
1/3 cup sour cream
2 TBS milk
1 tin of Dulce de Leche Toffee spread
1/.2 cup thick cream, whipped
2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
Preheat the oven to 180*C.350*F. LIne a 6 hols Texas or 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper cases, or butter well, flour and set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Beat in the eggs until light and fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients together and then add to the creamed mixture along with the banana, sour cream and milk. Mix together really well. Divide the mixture evenly amongst the muffin cups.
Bake for 25 minutes, if making the larger cakes, or 20 minutes if making the smaller ones. They are done when they are risen well and when the top of one springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Remove from the oven and from the muffin cups to a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, remove the paper cases, if used. Cut each cake horizontally into three slices. Re-assemble the cakes with a layer of caramel and sliced banana in between the two bottom layers. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, a few slices of banana and some chocolate sprinkles and serve. Delicious!
Over on The English Kitchen today, a delicious gratin of Jerusalem Artichokes!