Calaveras County, CA / September 9-14, `10
“Am I pretty?” Her dad asked while four-year-old Fern was busy pretending to put makeup on his face. Without batting an eye and in an innocence that comes only from a child, she responded with impeccable timing. “I don’t see it yet.” I wanted to fall out of my chair laughing.
I spent five days in Calaveras County which is situated in the rolling foothills of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. It is made up of communities such as Angels Camp, Murphys, and Copperopolis, which sound either angelic, like a trendy name for a restaurant, or the perfect setting for a novel. I was caught up in my surroundings as though time had stood still and my life at home was somehow forgotten. I spoke on five different occasions to people of all ages ranging from those who were in kindergarten to those who were in their eighties. The overall theme originated from the mouth of this four-year-old child and on Sunday morning the congregation howled upon hearing the story of Fern and her dad.
From kids to kings and everyone in between, God uses us in ways we may never realize. Sometimes we may wonder how our personal trials make sense in the larger scheme of things. We don’t see the purpose of those trials yet, but maybe we are not supposed to see anything because God often demonstrates beauty in the obscure places people find themselves in, reiterating that life is not about us, but rather how we can worship God through the lives that we lead. Do we trust Him?
In 2 Kings 20, King Hezekiah experienced an illness and Isaiah prophesized that it was going to take his life. Hezekiah wept bitterly and began to pray for his life to be spared. While in the waiting period, Hezekiah did not see the purpose of his illness as the outcome wasn’t looking pretty. God ended up adding fifteen more years to his life, and in Isaiah 38, King Hezekiah writes: “But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live” Isaiah 38:15, 16.
“Am I pretty?” I asked the church to consider where their hearts lie. “I don’t see it yet” becomes the common response when evaluating the soul. I wonder if King Hezekiah was proclaiming that through his brokenness he actually found what it means to live. From kids to kings and everyone in between, God whispers to and through each one of us. It was paradise to hear God’s voice through His people amid scenery that was fit for a king, but I realized that true beauty was found in the background of His kids displaying contagious faith. It reminded me, just be still.
When the plane touched back down in Phoenix I thought, what would I do with fifteen more years?