It’s easy to see God’s grace when everything is beautiful, when the sky is vast and blue and deep like the ocean, when the cool breeze lifts and breaths over you, when every blessing seems to illuminate God’s presence and blooms in your heart, wildflowers of brilliant color bursting within. It’s easy to praise Him, to let your heart sing “God is Good!” When you are running along, heart pounding in rhythm with your feet, sucking in air and life and cruising along with confidence and faith.

You don’t see it in the road, that stumbling block. Maybe it’s not even visible, maybe it’s as silent as a thought, as intangible as a word, maybe it’s an old wound that hasn’t quite healed yet.

It trips you up.

As you stumble, as you fall, as your knees hit the pavement hard….you don’t see the blessings anymore. It’s not so easy to see God’s grace from this vantage point! Stumbling…falling…scraping your knees….you come plummeting down to earth and are jolted back to ‘reality’. This is where you are. And it’s not very graceful.

What’s your first reaction? Mine is anger, hurt. There on the pavement, knocked and bruised, I want to sit, to fume, to cry, to give up. It takes precious little to knock the wind out of me, I am finding. I am not yet strong enough in my walk, I am learning, to let words slide off me and blows glance off, to turn the other cheek when the first is bruised, to see God’s grace when I hit the pavement, kneeling on skinned knees.

But isn’t that the best place to know God, there on your knees? Doesn’t He come through, stronger even than in beauty…when He carries us through pain? If I stop and let Him, won’t He comfort me like a child, sooth the pain, help me to my feet?

My youngest has had a rough summer with the Owies. Not long ago, we were hiking up a steep trail, littered with sharp and scrabbly stones. We stopped and examined flowers, we picked up coiled sea shells…bleached white with age, bits of ocean on the mountaintop–evidence of Noah’s flood. We filled pockets full, to share with others. On the way down, Youngest was running. Flying, really…her feet hitting the ground hard and fast between great leaps of air, aided by gravity on the steep slope. She was having too much fun to heed my warning, and her foot slipped on the loose stones. She came down hard, rolling on stone and dirt, bruising knees and hands and elbows, scratching tender skin. Tears flowed, her cries echoed down the canyon.

I picked her up, this little person so precious to my heart. We examined the hurt places, dusted them off. Yes, this hurts. No, it’s not a Band aid Owie. You’re brave, you’re strong. I’ll carry you until you feel better, but you’re going to be OK. I hurt to see her hurting, but it was a joy to me that I could comfort her, carry her, put her back on her feet and see her run again.

There on the pavement, on my knees….I am going to do my hardest to let God pick me up, comfort me, kiss away the pain. He is waiting to do it, with open arms. It is a joy to Him to comfort me, carry me, put me back on my feet and see me run again.

Psalm 40
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Thank you, Lord, for helping me back on my feet. I know You hurt to see me hurt, and I know it brings you joy when I let You comfort me. You are good!

photos: Wildflowers along the trail, Rachel on a happier hike, the family (dog included) on the trail as the sun sets….taken this week.

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