Last summer, my youngest son Caleb and I went to San Diego to visit my oldest son, Zachary. Zach worked during the day and since Caleb had lived in San Diego a couple of years, he knew his way around. Zach graciously let us take his car while he was at work. This meant I was at the mercy of Caleb driving me around! Seriously, he’s a good driver navigating the busy freeways of California. We decided to stop in La Jolla. La Jolla is beautiful. Hiking up the mountain, on the dry, dusty paths, passing by succulents and flowers, I couldn’t wait to see what was on the other side! A crystal, blue, shimmering ocean was on the other side! Viewing this majestic ocean from the top was breathtaking. Watching the waves roll in fascinates me. One of the many creations which leaves me awestruck are oceans. At one point I was so focused on getting to the other side, I wasn’t taking the time to enjoy the many splendid plants/flowers along the way. I had to stop, take in their beauty, shoot a few photos and continue my trek. As I continued to stand at the top staring at my surroundings, I was mesmerized by all that God has created for our enjoyment. Not only was the glistening ocean beautiful, the sounds of the waves crashing, the breeze blowing through my hair and the sun sprinkling rays of joy onto my face, it was a most peaceful feeling.
Isaiah 45:18 For this is what the Lord says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited-he says: “I am the Lord and there is no other.”
Seeing the other side was well worth the dusty hike. Alas, there are times in life which brings problems and we just cannot see the other side through the dust. We are blinded by clouds of grief, anger, frustration, betrayal, and sadness. Some of us may not want to see the other side because of what it will bring or take away. Not seeing the other side is scary. Our human minds and hearts want to see beyond our present. We want to control our situations. Remembering that God can see the other side of our hike is difficult when we want our way.
Psalm 71:20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
I was climbing, making the hike everyday. The hike started out fun, fruitful, joyful, and I received many blessings along the way. Yet the hike was getting steeper. I stopped seeing the blessings, my joy was being stolen, then suddenly, without warning, the hike was over. I’m not ready for my hike to be over God! I still have strength, I am loyal Lord, I can still do it! I need the bounty that this hike brings into my heart! Yet, He has whispered to me that this particular hike is over. I am a stubborn child. I fight against this, I try desperately to rejoin the others who were hiking alongside me, but my Father continues to tell me this hike is finished. I am angry, depressed, sad, and bitter. I hate bitter things, which is probably why I don’t like tea. I grew up around tea drinkers. It’s what was served at every meal in my grandparents home. Oh, I would drink it, but I thought it was bitter, even with a half a pound of sugar in it! No matter how much sugar I added, the tea was still bitter. No matter how much sugar I add to my long hike, the bitterness corrodes my sweet memories. I want to hike again and I want to see the other side right now. Maybe God is telling me my hiking season is over. I should put my dusty, cracked, well-worn, much-loved hiking boots away and let the new, shiny, smooth, gotta break these babies in boot wearers take over where I left off. I do not like this one bit. I feel like a toddler having a fit some days.
Ephesians 4:31: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
GULP! S L O W L Y, I am learning to let go of what I want and listen to what God wants for me. I must remember that God always has the best for me. He can see the other side and it’s always better! I cannot see the other side. There are days when I wonder if there is an other side. Today God gave me a reminder of well done, good and faithful servant. I went to the post office. As I entered, I saw a mother and daughter at the side counter, upon a second glance, I realized this girl was a student of mine last year. I completed my transaction then came up beside her to give her a hug. She lit up. I’m honestly not bragging…..she said, “Hi Mrs. Frame! I miss you, even though I liked 5th grade.” My heart filled with joy. I left the post office with a feeling of satisfaction. I had given my all to this hike and my bruises, sweat, and tears were worth it. If only for a brief moment in a post office, local store, or restaurant, God reminded me that my hike was successful and complete. I need to have peace about making it to the finish line. This child gave me some of that peace.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds, in Christ Jesus.
When life brings you a dusty season and you want to see the other side, stop to look at all the blessings that were brought along the way. Let God guide you, for He truly can see the other side.
** I dedicate this to all the students, staff, and parents, who have become ingrained in my heart during 21 years of working as an instructional assistant in the K-12 schools. I love many who God put in my path on this great trek of mine. Keep on trekking!