Friday, March 10, 2017

I Found Out

She tried to hide it, her laughter, but it escaped from her elderly lips before she could hold it back. She hadn't meant to burst out like that. She only meant to quietly snicker like she did when she was a girl pressing her ear to the door to hear her parents' conversations. The best conversations were the ones held behind closed doors. Those were the conversations where she sometimes learned about a coming surprise and overheard her name. She loved surprises. She still loved surprises, even at ninety.

"You laughed."

"No I didn't." She was caught and the lie slipped out like the laughter had just moments before. What is wrong with me today! Have I no control over my mouth? She scolded herself.

But it was laughable. It was! She nearly burst out all over again, and might have if she was alone. But, no, this was a serious matter. She was going to have a baby. She, who was ninety and barren.

She delivered Laughter. That's what his name, Isaac, means.

I'm boning an oven roasted chicken and the oldies song, "Walk Hand in Hand with Me" has me humming along. I sing this one in recognition of my heavenly Bridegroom.

Walk hand in hand with the Father and walk trusting Him.

Isn't it an expression of trust to place my hand into another's and go with that one? Well, for me it is.

For the likes of those who have given their hand to another in marriage, to walk hand in hand with another through life, it's a sure expression of trust.

I did that decades ago, gave my hand in marriage just all happy, "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay." It's wonderful fun when a husband goes where a wife wants to go, and when she gets to go wherever there is, with him. It's not so fun when everything inside wants to pull hand away.

Yet here's something I found out when I really didn't like where we were going--my husband's hand isn't the only one holding mine.

There's another pair of hands holding mine, and those hands belong to God.

Oh, this poor chicken. I'm not good at boning. Never was much for dissecting in science class, and in Home Economics we never boned anything. We baked cake.

This poor trusting chicken with no hands!

Sometimes we are taken where we don't want to go.

But, when there's the kind of hand-in-hand relationship which trusts the Father who holds all things in His hand-and who is good--then don't we go? What I found out is that I go. I do.

I found out that I go, even when laughter, tremendous expression of joy, is at stake.

I found out that I go, remembering others who went before me with their hands firmly in the heavenly Father's hand.

I go, remembering Jesus. The Apostle Paul. The heroes of faith written of in Hebrews 11. And Isaac, the name sake of laughter who, by sovereign design, was the first and only child of Sarah born to Father Abraham, grandfather of Israel.

I'm held in the same hands--the hands of the God of Israel. So, yeah, I found out that I go.

Something happens which seems only to happen in the thin altar places.

A veil opens and a glimpse of holiness so holy that one glimpse brings inexplicable joy and it's the joy of the Lord.

The joy of the Lord! That's some mighty joy!

That's a joy which gives might and returns laughter in fullness.

Maybe Sarah laughed more loudly than she meant to, but I imagine the visiting angels and the Lord meant to bring attention to her laughter because maybe they meant to make a point about the expression of joy.

And about trust.

Joy and trust. It's a delicate relationship.

Ruffle the feathers of trust and joy will become as skeptical as a chicken on the block.

Joy and trust. It's an often abused relationship.

Or it's a beautiful relationship.

I gave my hand in marriage and walk hand in hand with this big Bavarian husband of mine and my small hand disappears in his.

I also take the hand my heavenly Father offers.

He won't always lead me away from places where my heart will tear, but I found out that He holds His own joy and trust in His own hands.

I found out that when He offers His hand to me, He offers everything He holds.

I found out that He proves what He says.

I found out that He proves the exchange of mourning for joy. Of ashes for beauty.

I found out that He proves the return of laughter, and He returns it more full.

Sarah's snicker came from elderly lips, and her belly was filled with laughter.

I can just imagine how full her laughter was when she saw afar off the figure of her son Isaac-the figure of Laughter-walking toward her when maybe she didn't know if she would see him again. I don't know how much Abraham told her when he went out with Isaac and wood for the altar and without the animal to be sacrificed, but I do know that we wives are fairly astute when it comes to the ways of our households, and intuitive when it comes to our husbands. I imagine that if Abraham told her everything, she might have had a bone to pick. I know I would have, and it wouldn't have been pretty. All I have to do is look at what's left on my cutting board to know that.

I won't take a picture of it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

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