Great Expectations

by | Dec 2, 2021 | Faith, Prayer, Raining Grace

|He’s Carved Your Name in His Palm|

“Are we almost there?” whined four-year-old Brian an hour into our twelve-hour drive. Our summer adventure had been carefully planned and enthusiastically explained. We were a family with great expectations.

“Brian, honey, maybe you could entertain your brother,” I said, looking back at one-year-old Jeremy, whose face was contorted. He was ready to burst again into tears of boredom. The silence in the car had been only a brief intermission—a gift of Jeremy’s ten-minute nap.

Brian reached up and shielded his ears as Jeremy shrieked.

The trailer we had borrowed swayed from side to side in the strong wind, and the bike rack on top of our station wagon caught the wind and produced a mournful howl. The crying baby, whining child, and howling bike rack made quite a trio, serenading my husband Mike and me as we drove down the lonesome highway.

Our nights were slightly more challenging than our days. At 2:00 a.m. on the first night, I stood outside our thin-walled trailer to check the noise level of Jeremy’s shrill cries. Just as I’d feared, our son was letting everyone in the park know he was not a happy camper. He wanted his own bed at home. He wasn’t alone.

Eventually, we arrived at the heavily-billed Atlantic. We enjoyed the waves and the beach of the Atlantic until Jeremy created a game. He thought being pulled back onto our blanket and having his mouth emptied of sand was fun. He kept me guessing by crawling in different directions, changing his speed, and filling his mouth to various degrees.

To top it all off, there was the ring, or the lack of one. On the fifth night of the trip, I sat beside a crackling campfire, staring at the empty prongs that should have held my diamond. I owned no other real jewelry. I treasured my engagement ring and wedding band so much that they were enough.

I scoured the campsite that evening and in the morning light. During the days of travel home, I searched our trailer thoroughly. I’d memorized the nicks in the sink, the snags in the carpet, and the indentations the furniture made in the carpet’s worn nap. I had splinters from sweeping my hands along the bottoms of drawers. The diamond was nowhere to be found.

I asked for the grace of a new perspective on our trip, and as we pulled the camper into our driveway, I knew my prayer had been answered. I was grateful that I had a home to return to and happy to help my husband carry our sleepy little boys into their awaiting beds. Adorable Jeremy patted me gently on the back before I laid him down, and Brian curled up immediately under his covers. Mike and I whispered and giggled as we tucked the boys in; we were exhausted but giddy to be home. We fell into our own bed, cuddled up, and counted our blessings. Life was about finding meaning and being thankful—despite what happens.

The next morning I swept the trailer carpet one last time so we could return the camper. I couldn’t believe I’d missed the bookmark wedged between the rug and the tiny couch; I’d thoroughly combed that territory. As I scooped up the card, I read its words: “See, I will not forget you. I have carved your name in the palm of my hand.” The verse was from the book of Isaiah.

I glanced back at the floor where I’d retrieved the bookmark. Glistening in the light that streamed from the tiny skylight above me lay my diamond—a stone symbolizing not only the love between my husband and me, but the Love that guards us on life’s winding, difficult, yet joyous journey.

Surely there aren’t always happy endings. We can’t demand them as proof that we are safe in His hands. Only faith can promise that. But there are those little reassurances. We must carve them into our hearts for safekeeping. We may need to draw on them for the real challenges of life. Our God is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God is good. All the time.

Today, be aware.
God’s Life floods your heart.
It’s always Raining Grace.