I trust in your unfailing love.
After my second surgery my husband and I spent a week at the beach. Both of us needed to recuperate from the many weeks of uncertainty and strain. It was the week of our thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. So we needed to both rest and celebrate.
We were no longer waiting for results. We were no longer anticipating the possibility of radiation therapy. We knew the cancer had been removed and that I did not have to go through radiation. I was done. I was cancer free.
We rested well that week. It was the middle of March, a few weeks before Easter break, so the beach was empty most of the time. Beautiful. And quiet.
On the last full day that we were there, we were blessed with a rain storm that lasted only a few hours. When the sky cleared, it was a deep, brilliant blue, strewn with an array of white clouds that were turning golden. It was too beautiful to stay inside, so I went out for a long walk.
While I walked my heart turned to God. I was full of gratitude and awe. I had no words. The sky said what I could not. The storm had come. It had baptized us with water. It had purified the air. Then it cleared, leaving a few clouds behind to reflect the light of the sun. It was peaceful now. Everything felt blessed. And hushed.
As I walked, I found myself looking at the sand, scanning for a rock I might save. I am a bit of a scavenger for unusually shaped rocks, but I reminded myself that rocks were not the agenda that day. They paled in comparison to the drama of the light show going on in the sky above me and on the ocean and sand in front of me.
After walking for a while I stopped and stood for a time, marveling at the gold and silver light in the sky and the wonderful way the light was reflected on the water and the sand. I was in state of quiet awe.
After standing in that spot for a while, I glanced down at my feet before moving on. There, right in front of me, was a smooth, flat rock in the perfect shape of a heart. I picked it up and held it as my eyes brimmed with tears.
The One who created the vast beauty I had been enjoying was the same God who had cared for me with such tender mercy. There was something about holding this rock in my hand that provided a tangible symbol for the many experiences of God’s provision that had graced the recent months. I found myself talking to God in the simple words of a child. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” I whispered. “You always help me and take care of me. And you tell me in a hundred ways that you love me. Thank you. I love you.”
I thought for a moment about our grandson at Christmas when he was two and a half years old. With each gift he unwrapped he would say to the person who had given it to him, “You gave it me?” And when that person said, “Yes,” he threw himself at them, wrapped his arms around them and said, “Oh, kank you!”
That is what my heart was saying to God, “You gave it me? All the gifts of peace and guidance and help? You gave it me, God? Thank you.”
I carried the rock home. I think of it as an I-love-you rock from God. It is a tangible symbol, a physical reminder, a visualization of how intimately and tenderly I am loved—of how intimately and tenderly we all are loved.
Now, when I pick up the heart-shaped rock and hold it in my hand I am reminded of all the years of healing, all the gifts of love God has given to me. “I love you,” God says over and over. “Thank you,” I whisper back. “Thank you.”
May God grant you the capacity to trust that most fundamental of all truths: you are loved. Always. Faithfully. Unconditionally. Tenderly. Intimately.
When you don’t know what to do…know that you are loved.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What difficulties have you had believing that you are loved by God?
2. What has helped you to trust God’s love for you?
This meditation is taken from Keep Breathing: What To Do When You Can’t Figure Out What To Do by Juanita Ryan. Keep Breathing is available for purchase at amazon.com
Barbara M says
Missing your posts, I hope that you are well and everything is ok. I have been saving them over the year to use as a devotion for the summer (I’m a teacher).
Juanita Ryan says
Aw. Thank you, Barbara. I am well and all is well. Taking a break and thinking and praying about what’s next.
Barbara M says
Glad to hear! 🙂
I really enjoy your posts and want to take my time with them to sort it with the Lord. Prayers for His direction for you.
Juanita Ryan says
Thank you, Barbara for your words and prayers of blessing.
Kathy W says
So lovely, Juanita. Brought tears to my eyes. He has often spoken to me in hearts too. In puddles (I’m from England!!) in coffee, stones too and each time I was amazed, the living God, reaching down and speaking His love to us through the dirt… Bless you ❤️
Juanita Ryan says
Thank you, Kathy for sharing your similar stories. I love the way you put it–the living God…speaking His love to us through the dirt.