My writing desk is covered with keepsakes, trinkets, and other things that inspire me. Perhaps my favorite item in that collection is a tiny scrap of paper from a journal that Hope used to keep. Dated February 4, 2005, it reads, “Today is a good day. I ate cake.” By itself, this note is cute. Yes, cake does make for a good day. But what makes it special to me is knowing what kind of day my poor baby girl had had when she wrote this entry.
A second grader who loved school, she woke up that morning feeling under the weather. She insisted that she was fine, but I could tell by her eyes that she was getting sick. I told her that I wished she would stay home, but she was adamant that she felt fine and reminded me that her friend’s mother would be bringing a birthday cake to school for her friend that day. Against my better judgment, I relented and let her go to school. By the time I picked her up, she was pale and sweaty and running a fever of 103. She hadn’t told her teacher that she felt hot because she wanted to stay and celebrate with everyone else. Immediately, I took her to the doctor and found out that she had Type A influenza. Settled on her sickbed that evening, achy and hot from head to toe, Hope chose to sit and write, “Today was a good day. I ate cake.”
I take a long look at that journal entry anytime that I am tempted to complain about the things that I wish were not in my life but are. I remind myself that I am blessed in spite of them. After all, no matter what is happening in my tiny world, God is still sovereign, and He loves me. He loves me so much that He sent Jesus to pay the price for my sin so that I could have a relationship with Him now and spend eternity with Him in Heaven someday, where life is not only good. It’s perfect. Living a life of faith is not a matter of being able to look on the bright side of a situation, something that is often difficult and sometimes impossible to find, but is instead a matter of choosing to focus on and cherish the promises found in God’s Word in the midst of darkness. It’s nodding at the fever, but savoring the cake.
This week has been a difficult one for me. I’ve struggled to simply rest in the fact that God is in control and that He loves me and to let that be enough. I’ve prayed and given my troubles to him a dozen times only to snatch them back again, but in the moments that I’ve allowed myself to accept the reality of God’s provision and love for me and to rest in the peace that He gives, He’s opened my eyes to some pretty cool things that confirm and reaffirm in my heart and mind that God is at work in my life and the lives of those around me.
For instance, this week, during free reading time, one of my students pulled out Crazy Love, by Chan, and read it to a group of eager listeners near him. During a discussion of Thanksgiving, one of my students raised his hand and shared why he was so thankful for what Jesus had done for him. Another of my students saved a classmate from an embarrassing situation, and still another of my students left a note of encouragement for me on my desk full of the exact scripture that I needed to hear that day in response to what God had said to her in her quiet time that morning. These incidents don’t erase the scary things that I experienced this week, and they don’t fix the things that are broken. But still, all things considered, I’d have to say that it’s been a good week. I had some pretty yummy cake.