Deer season opened Sunday in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, our family got ours without firing a shot.
Actually, truth to be told, we didn't run into the deer -- the deer tried to run between the van and the trailer (not a large space when traveling at 55mph!). And so the deer sort-of hit us.
At first glance the damage didn't seem too great -- a large dent and broken support beam on the trailer.
But later that afternoon when we went to set up for our New Years Eve service, we discovered some additional damage. Josiah's bass guitar had been crushed and cracked in several places. It was still holding together, but our unprofessional opinion was that it's playing days were over. It was a very sorry sight.
This reminded us of an event in 2002 where this same guitar had all but fallen off the back of a flat-bed trailer. Thankfully it was rescued in time, but not without receiving a few minor scratches and dings -- small to our eyes, but very disappointing to Josiah who treasured his then-new instrument. Now as he stood looking at his cracked guitar he said, "I guess those scratches and dings aren‘t such a big deal anymore."
As is often the case, Dad used this example to share spiritual truth with us children. He shared with us how often this example is true in life:
Little bumps and bruises often come our way as situations and events arise into our lives which are unpleasant and often very difficult. These sometimes leave hurts and heartaches -- little 'scratches and dings' in the 'woodwork' of our lives.
But our guitar story helped us discover that there is hope and victory during those difficulties. For when it's all been said and done; when our days on earth are over and we face the magnitude of eternity -- what will really matter? In that moment of time -- the end of time -- I imagine that any struggle we faced in this world will be swallowed up with the sudden realization of the things that really matter in life. Where will I spend eternity? Where will my friends and family spend eternity? What did I do that will endure past my lifetime?
And we will see God's great purpose behind the struggles in this life. [Romans 8:28]
We heard a man share last year who has had many 'scratches and dings' in his life. Of his three children, two needed heart transplants, one of whom also developed a serious cancer which he continues to fight, and the other developed very difficult skin reactions to many household items, forcing them to drastically change their lifestyle.
He talked briefly about these struggles, but his final comment still rings in my memory: "I’ve heard people say that someday they want to ask God, 'why?' for many of the things He allowed to happen. I believe that instead, when I enter eternity and see it all from God's perspective, my first words will be, "Of course -- now I understand."
Of course. These were only minor scratches in the giant scheme of things, and all along our loving Father is using them to draw us to Himself. For, unlike the hapless initial scratches on the guitar, our every heartache and ‘bump’ along the road serves a purpose as He shapes and molds our lives to glorify His name.
And so, our family will soon be guitar shopping -- but in the mean time this little accident has brought a valuable lesson once again to our hearts.
This life is but for a moment. Eternity is forever.