Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

I wrote this article for a writing class several years ago when I struggled with physical ailments. God was faithful to abide by my side, giving me strength. I share my experiences with you in hopes that you can see what God has done for me and trust that He is faithfully available to you as well.                                            

     Fumbling around in the bottom of my purse, I discovered a small red circular stone and immediately remembered receiving it at a Christian retreat. Many may view it as meaningless, but for me it’s a symbol of a belief that is grounded in the depths of my soul.
     I find myself gazing at this rounded stone with a flat side. Clutching it in my hand, I stare into the clear reflective red of the little rock and my mind’s eye travels to the center of the earth. The inner core of the earth is extremely hot and under such violent pressure that it is compressed into solid iron. Trekking back mentally to the surface of the earth, I encounter fractures in the crust caused by earthquakes. I’m quickly reminded of the strength that abounds in and around this astounding planet. Only a Creator God could speak into existence the planet on which we live. Within the essence of my being, I believe a Supreme Being exists. 
     Realizing I’m actually sitting in my living room, I fondle the pocket-sized stone and examine its vivid intensity. Staring at it again, the color red reminds me of a heart beating with passion and overflowing with compassion. Scientifically speaking, the heart pumps blood carrying an iron-containing protein called hemoglobin all throughout the body. As I imagine the sound of the beating of life, I’m convinced only the Most High God can create such complexity. Immediately pain draws me away from my wonderings and awakens my memory to blood once pooled at the bottom of my foot. It wasn’t an earthquake or some seismic vibration causing me to land on large rocks in a creek. I simply fell off a log that traversed the creek, disconnecting ligaments and tendons in and around my foot. Wearing a boot for two months to heal my injury generated damage to the discs in my back, rendering me a bit rickety. As my bodily discomfort reminds me of my weakened physical state, I wonder—how stable is my core? 
     While pondering about my inner stability, I pick up the stone seeking an answer. Drawn across the top of the little red stone is a gold cross and I remember my core’s substance, the heart of the matter. My strength, the iron within, comes from a greater Power. The same Creator God who fashioned the earth formed me. Holding the polished stone, I’m aware of Who makes my rough places smooth. This I believe: I have a Savior God who lives to enhance my life with Him on earth. He’s a friend who is closer than a sister, sticking by me through thick and thin (Proverbs 18:24).
     Why do I believe these things? How do I know this great Power? Have I seen evidence that He lives? I believe I have. He speaks to me through His creation. A month after my Daddy died, while sitting in my car, a butterfly flew alongside the hood, hovered at the windshield, and then took flight. Why a butterfly? The butterfly symbolizes new life and because God knows I treasure this creation, He speaks to me through its beauty. He lovingly communicated the eternal life my Dad gained through death. 
     More confirmation of God manifesting Himself to me came though four fragile years with a prodigal daughter. In my heart I believed she would eventually return to her family. But as doubt plagued my mind, I spoke to God about her and a butterfly glided down into my backyard and floated up to me. My Friend had spoken again.
     Just recently more proof of His existence came my way. Receiving verification from the doctor of a slipped disc in my back, I left work alarmed and crying out to God. Setting out on my twenty minute ride home, butterflies approached my car. Whether they were near or far away, the creatures were clearly visible. By the time I pulled into my garage, I counted twenty-nine beautiful butterflies. I knew in my heart I’d be OK! This I believe to the core of my being: a higher Being is watching over me.  
     As I cradle the valuable red rock in my hand, I understand it must be kept in a safe place for future use. Since I uncovered it in my handbag, I decided to return it there permanently. I pray the next time I locate that stone, God will take me on another promising journey, increasing my confidence in Him and the conviction of my faith.

Look up at the sky and consider:
    Who created these?
    The one who brings out their attendants one by one,
    summoning each of them by name.
Because of God’s great strength
    and mighty power, not one is missing.
Why do you say, Jacob,
    and declare, Israel,
    “My way is hidden from the Lord
    my God ignores my predicament”? 
Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
    The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the creator of the ends of the earth.
    He doesn’t grow tired or weary.
His understanding is beyond human reach,
    giving power to the tired
    and reviving the exhausted.
Youths will become tired and weary,
    young men will certainly stumble;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength;
    they will fly up on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not be tired;
    they will walk and not be weary. 
Isaiah 40:26-31 (CEB)

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