It’s Saturday morning. So naturally, like you, I’m sipping on coffee and thinking about sorrow.
Tom and I walked in the woods the other day. It was bitter cold. Snow crunched under our feet and the air burned our lungs. It was perfect. There was a sharp silence all around. We ventured off the path and cut up through the woods exploring new avenues between the old, black trees. Winter’s work had removed the overgrowth. New paths for travel were sparklingly clear. We had to work a little harder to move from the trusted trail. I learned if I put my feet exactly where Tom stepped ahead of me I did not slip as much. He did the hard work and I only needed to follow. I was so intent on keeping up with him I almost missed it.
“Look!” he said.
Tom stopped and pointed past my right shoulder. I turned to see a doe. She was watching us from a clearing just past the edge of the woods on high alert, poised to run. A flash of brown behind her jumped into the next batch of trees, a fawn taking flight. The doe took a tentative step away while keeping her head toward us. Then we saw another flash, this time of white. An albino fawn was there for a moment longer, and then all three deer were gone.
“Have you ever seen one of those before?” I asked Tom. I wanted the white deer with brown spots to come back.
“Not up close like that,” he said.
We stared for a minute more and then turned to make our way back onto the path and towards home. It was a lovely diversion. You don’t see the hidden gifts unless you step into the woods where they dwell.
Facing cancer today or another serious illness? Then you know all about diversions. And they’re not always lovely. There are no imprints on the hard path showing you where and how to land safely. The silence of anticipation turns into a raging storm of emotions and tests and surgeries and treatment. Then it gets silent again as you try to heal and recover and step into your new normal. Maybe you’re dealing with a return of cancer. Sorrow walks with you for a time. And time again.
Don’t you think it should get easier? Doesn’t it take your breath away when it gets harder?
Rest for a minute before you push forward today. Lift up your weary head to look around the woods. Life is joyfully teeming under frozen soil. God is working, creating life, healing brokenness all around you. In you. He’s preparing you for something good. Some purpose only you can fulfill in His plan. Trust Him. Call out to Him. He’ll lead you safely through deep woods on your walk with sorrow.
“Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” Psalm 116:2-4
Have you cried out to God in distress during illness? How has He answered your prayer? Maybe share a comment here? You might leave an imprint for someone else in the woods to follow.