Trillium, with its beautiful trio of leaves and petals, grows in the woods here in Western Maryland. So does the trout lily.The trout part of the wildflower’s name originates from its leaves, visual reminders of the markings on a trout.These quiet signs of spring require the hiker’s sharp eyes and careful walking through the woods. People can rampage through entire fields without seeing these and other delicate beauties.
I believe a parallel applies to human pain and suffering. Admittedly, chronic pain forces me to plod through some of the tougher days without looking for the tiny signs of joy growing in the fields. So I pray for the Lord to lift my eyes that I might refocus.
When the psalmist wanted to know where his help came from, he lifted his eyes to the hills, seeking assistance as he pressed on toward Zion. His quick realization came: “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121) As a song of ascents, this psalm speaks of Jewish pilgrims who trekked the arduous path upward to Jerusalem. The writer of this psalm realized that a person, not a city or a pilgrimage, truly offered succor.
Anyone dealing with chronic suffering can understand this word picture, because looking to Jesus offers aid far superior to any earthly pain reliever. Even an extended release medication has limited efficacy. But unveiling the incarnate person of the trinity, encountering Jesus personally, connects me to the One who made the heavens… the earth… me. He tirelessly cares for those who suffer.
Knowing or know, a word used almost 900 times in the ESV, convinces me over feelings or feel, which appears about 15 times. I have days when I feel lousy, but I know the One who has my days in His hands. That gives me a phrase I have read somewhere and wish I could credit to its original author: gospel optimism.
Driving very slowly through a country road this afternoon, Dave and I wanted to see if the lady slipper had bloomed. Not yet, but we know the delicate beauty of the flower will burst forth any day now.
Wishing you gospel optimism.