One summer, when our female duck, Lily, was sitting on her nest of eggs, what she and her mate, Larry, didn't realize was that those poor eggs would never hatch. Before they even began to get "ripe," I would remove them from her nest. Some people may think this is cruel, but I had good reasons for doing things this way. My husband and I couldn't provide for a whole family of ducks, but we still wanted Lily to go through the sitting process. If we didn't allow her to do this, she would continue to lay eggs year-round, and she would most likely develop some serious nutritional deficiencies and die. We knew this was so, because we lost our first two female ducks this way. The weather had been hot, and it was difficult for me to watch Lily confine herself to her stuffy little house, and to go without food or water for many hours at a time - all for nothing. But when I was tempted to put a halt to this seemingly pointless routine, I would force myself to picture our previous females, Daisy and Katie, and how they died. I told myself often, "This is for Lily's own good," and in my heart, I knew it was true. Still, sometimes it hurt to see all the tender care and handling that she gave her beloved eggs.
I can't help thinking about how many times the Lord must watch us struggle with things that cause us hurt and heartache, knowing that, in the long run, we will reap some benefit from them. I have often cried out to God in my confusion and pain and heard Him speak to my heart - "In the days to come you will understand all this." (Jeremiah 30:24 NLT) The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realize how true this is.
I can still remember how, many years ago, a relationship I cherished ended badly. I thought that my life was over, and I pleaded with the Lord day and night to restore the relationship and end my misery. It wasn't until seven months later, when I met my husband, Joe, that I understood why God wouldn't answer my prayers. He had something better in store for me, but I just couldn't see it at the time.
After Joe and I were married for about a year, I quit my high-pressure office job to find something less stressful. I had always interviewed well, and I was used to getting hired on the spot, but this time, no one would hire me. As I shared my confusion and discouragement with my husband, he convinced me that it was time for us to begin raising a family. When I found out years later that, all along, I had a health condition that could eventually rob me of my ability to have children, I thanked God that He forced me to put my career on hold.
When our sons were very young, an accounting position opened up at my husband's workplace, and we both earnestly prayed that he would get the job. Joe had gone back to school after we got married, so that he could get a college degree in accounting and increase his earning potential. With me being a stay-at-home mother, and our family growing, we felt this new opportunity was an answer to our prayers. But when it came time to fill this position, Joe was passed over for someone else. It wasn't until a year later, when the entire accounting department was eliminated from Joe's company, that we understood why God had closed the door on that opportunity.
Maybe you are in a difficult place today, and you're wondering what the Lord is up to in your life. I believe that if you will put your wholehearted trust in Him, you will see Him bring great good out of your situation. And if you'll listen carefully, you just may hear His gentle voice saying, "In the days to come, you will understand..."
Prayer: Lord, help me to live my life trusting in You with all my heart, and not depending on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) Comfort and console me when I face disappointment and heartache. Remind me often that when You allow pain to touch my life, You have a purpose for it, and You will work it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) Thank You that as I put my trust in You, and follow Your lead, I won't miss out on a single blessing You have in store for me!
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