I’ve always liked the idea of time travel. It is evident by my taste in entertainment (books, movies, etc.) as well as a theme in my imagination.
I distinctly remember a moment in my life when I was about 8 years old. As I was lying on my bed looking out my bedroom door down the hall, I imagined that my future self came to visit me. I imagined that 30 year old April traveled back in time to visit 8 year old April. I realize that this in and of itself may cause you to never take me seriously again but alas this is a true story. I pictured what my older self would look like and say to me.
In my 90s influenced brain I thought I would be wearing a brightly colored pant suit with heels and sporting long hair (I was really into having long hair then). I’m fairly certain my younger self would be disappointed that she/I didn’t grow any taller than “we” are but maybe she wouldn’t have noticed with the heels. I do think I could pull off the sophisticated look my little self was hoping to achieve. Some things influence your style your whole life. My favorite color has been purple since I was 2 after all.
When I was eight, I imagined that my “grown-up” self would tell me hints about the way the rest of my life would go. Clues about who I would marry and how many children I would have. Of course my older self couldn’t tell me anything too specific because we can’t mess with the whole space-time continuum thing! That and an eight year old really can’t think of too many details for what grown up life would be like. So I gave my future imaginary self a break and let her be vague but say really cool things about how great I am.
It was a fun past time one afternoon in my childhood. And I honestly haven’t thought much about it since. But today as I was rehearsing in my mind all the struggles in my life right now, I remembered me as a little girl. I’m 33 years old now. I’m basically the age I expected a grown up to come talk to me.
So what would I say today to little April sitting on her bed with her eyes wide and ears attentive?
Ironically, probably what I thought I would say when I was eight! I wouldn’t tell her about the hard times. I wouldn’t tell her about the people she would lose, her aunt from cancer, her grandfather from Alzheimer’s or her baby boy hours after he is born. I wouldn’t worry her with all the years she would wait and wonder if she was ever going to get married. I wouldn’t burden her with the financial struggles. I also wouldn’t lament to her how hard raising a family and ministering to people can be. And I’m glad I didn’t tell her and that I didn’t know.
Today the Lord used this memory to remind me of His faithfulness. God has been good to me. He did provide a godly man to marry (finally at 29 years old!). He has given me two healthy children to raise. He has given me many ministry opportunities within the church. His has met my needs, comforted my heart and blessed me more than I deserve.
It is so easy to grumble and complain. My heart is so quickly discontented.
In James 5:7-11, the author addresses some poor Christians who are suffering unjustly both at the hand of the rich and for their faith. They are told to be patient in the trial and not to grumble about it. Because Jesus is coming back and will one day make all things right, we can be patient when things are hard. I need to be patient in my outlook. So many times I want do and change things and God has just called me to patiently endure. He says those who remain steadfast will be blessed. I don’t want want to forfeit my reward or my testimony by complaining.
Life is hard, but God is aware of my sufferings. He is also bigger than them. He is worthy of my praise and trust no matter the circumstance. And not once has He ever forsaken me. There is purpose in all that the Lord allows and He is compassionate and merciful to me, His child.
If I went back in time, I could tell little April all day long of the ways that God has proven Himself faithful. But today I pray that the Spirit does not let this grown up April forget this wonderful truth. I feel confident that 60-year-old April would tell me the same thing!
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.