As we were walking along the historical pathway of the Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, the routine sound of gravel crunching under our feet was broken by a small voice that confided, "I'm worried about Nanny." I shifted from a casual carefree walk to a more serious posture, knowing I needed wisdom to talk to this sweet girl about her concerns over her grandmother's recent diagnosis of breast cancer. How to respond when a child opens up about their fears does not come easily. While internally asking for God's help in answering, I responded, "Aw, I know you are concerned. You know, I have a favorite verse that I think about when I am feeling worried." "What is it?" she asked. A familiar passage came to mind and I tried to simplify it for her. It comes from the book of Philippians, and it says,
"Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving." My translation for her was that God doesn't want us to worry, but while remembering and thanking Him for all the many things He has done for us, we should get alone and talk with Him about what is weighing heavy on our minds.
"Then God’s peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus." Then God will give us, an out of this world, peace, that will protect our hearts and minds in Jesus.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things. So think on what is good, true and praiseworthy and don't stop thinking about all the blessing around us." Philippians 4: 6-8 International Standard Version (ISV)
So, little sister, think about and focus on things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, commendable, things that are excellent and praiseworthy and keep thinking about those things and all your blessings.
She looked up at me and smiled, and then there was a small pause before she asked, "Do you think they will get all the cancer?" I was amazed at the question, because I wasn't sure how much she knew about her grandmother's health situation. I looked down into her sweet, innocent eyes and said, "I hope and pray that they do. One thing I know for sure is that God is with us through difficult times and trials. When my mother went through cancer, He was with our family. When I went through cancer, He was with me and our family. And He still is."
"One thing I know for sure is that God is with us through difficult times and trails."
As we toured the grounds, I talked with her about what we had just learned in how the furnaces were used to transform the metals into valuable pig iron. I explained that when we go through hardships, it is like being in a furnace. We go into the furnace as one thing, all the time being carefully watched, and then come out completely transformed and much stronger.
I asked her if she knew about gyms. She looked at me funny and smiled. I said, "Did you know people pay money to go to a gym, to put stress on their muscles? In some gyms, they hire a trainer to push them to their limits. Now, why do you think they do that?" She laughed and said with a guess, "They hope to get stronger?" "Yes! That's exactly right. So we can know that God is watching over us like a master craftsman, a trainer, to help grow us and make us stronger through difficult times. He is standing close right there with us through the process.
Since that afternoon, our families have endured more trials and difficulties, and I am tempted to panic at times. But I know, when I stop and get focused, that He is working something in me and through me. He can be trusted through the pain, for He is Faithful and True!
He is Faithful and True!
Christina is an
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