"Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears;
For your work shall be rewarded," says the Lord,
"and they shall return from the land of the enemy.
There is hope in your future." says the Lord,
"that your children shall return to their own border." Jeremiah 31. 16, 17
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten...." Joel 2.25
In the margin of my Bible there is a date. The date notes a time of great personal desolation.
A first grand child was born, lived nearby and was much loved and adored. It was an astonishing, humbling time, seeing first hand the 'circle of Life' and delighting in all it represented.
Then circumstances brought about a separation. The heart suddenly had a hole causing indescribably pain. Oh the tears "Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted..because they were no more."
Always in such times, the life habit has been to run to scripture to help order the thinking, to find comfort. And there it was. Of course, the above words were not written to me. Then again, weren't they? It was a time to "touch the page to see if the ink was dry."
But how could this be? Return? (and they were not really in the enemy's land, only the papa had chosen schooling in a far off place.)
Somehow, although there was the how and when of a return looming large, through the fog of the present grief, there was a claiming, a clinging, followed by a knowing, that all would be well and all would come about in the Father's good time. The hole in the heart was not stitched closed, but soothing ointment was applied.
Fast forward, dear Reader, to the present time.
Through many astonishing movements of the Hidden Hand down through the intervening years, I now find myself geographically in the center of The Mother of that first wee lass, the Lass herself, mother of a Wee Manchild. We are allowed to meet together for tea, lunch and chatting nearly every week now. Only a Sovereign God could have orchestrated this. So many miles have been traveled, a great many locations have been lived by us all since the date penned in the margin.
At one glorious fragment of time yesterday, I was in my cloister chair, feeding Wee Man his naptime bottle. As I sang to him, he hummed in his baby way. (His momma has sung to him since before he was born so this humming is no surprise.) It occurred to me as I held him that he was the third generation of my own flesh and fur I've held in such a way, the third generation to whom I've sung All Things Wise and Wonderful.
Once again there is a heart filled to bursting at the mercies of our God, His faithfulness throughout the pilgrimage. Weeping ceased, years restored. Blessings unnumbered.
Ten thousand, thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a cheerful heart,
That tastes those gifts with joy.