Life was never meant to be sailed through without trouble or trial. That is not how we learn best. But we can see the silver lining to any situation if we only look. Every night we say a prayer together as a family. We take turns saying this prayer, each night being someone else’s turn, and recently our youngest son, has thanked Heavenly Father for all the good that had happened that day. I think that’s a great thing to be thankful for. But one day I said to him, what if the bad thing that happened was supposed to happen and that God wanted to teach us something or help us trust in Him more? What if the hard things lead to greater happiness that we wouldn’t have had otherwise? He decided he needed to ponder more on those questions. I’m grateful he’s willing to think about it.
I think above all we need to be grateful to our Heavenly Father in all things, for all things, but I don’t think He is going to protect us from everything bad that happens in life. That is not the purpose of being here, but that doesn’t mean He leaves us on our own to fend for ourselves, at least not if we seek His help in all things, and I am grateful that over the years I have seen His hand in our lives, guiding us through hard times so that we can come out having learned and grown rather than being bitter or angry.
I was pondering on this a couple of days ago, thinking how our Heavenly Father has helped us. I was reflecting on a trip we made last spring to Fairbanks for a climbing competition. My car had been having some minor issues that we thought we had gotten fixed. That was the car we were going to drive. Fairbanks is 5 hours north, a lot of the area being without cell reception or people for that matter. I prayed before we left that if we were going to have car problems, please help it be where we could get help, or close enough to home that we could get home to fix it. We left in my car, and within 10 miles there were problems. We were able to return home however to switch cars. This time we got in my daughter’s car. I prayed the same prayer, and within 5 miles we were turning around a second time. We got in the smallest car we have and started again. Again, I prayed. This time we had no problems and made it to Fairbanks and home and had a great trip. Both of the cars that we had to turn around and take back had issues that eventually had to be fixed. My car needed to have the heads on the engine repaired which was semi costly, and time consuming for my husband who fixed it. But the silver lining, the tender mercy was that we broke down near our home and were able to return and not be stuck and my husband was able to fix both cars himself. I was so grateful for Heavenly Father’s help and watchful care over us that day. Life happens, cars break down, but we were safe through the process. It’s interesting that often those memories come just at the right time to help in a new situation.
This brings me to yesterday. My husband and I were asked to take a car in to the airport for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to take home when they arrived later that evening. I met my husband and our kids at his jobsite after work. The kids were riding together, running a few errands and then going home while we were in Anchorage. Not 5 minutes after we left the jobsite my daughter called to let me know they had been in an accident. My son, who was driving, called my husband to figure out what to do. He had rear ended a truck in front of him when traffic had suddenly stopped. This is never news you want to hear, but there were several silver linings that we identified at the time and several hours later. First, no one was injured in either vehicle. The accident was a slow speed accident as traffic hadn’t been going anywhere near the speed limit to begin with. Second, both vehicles were still drivable, and they were able to get off the main roadway quickly to a safe area to figure out what to do. Third, they were in our little economy car. I had suggested they take my husband’s truck home, and we take the small car for the better gas mileage. My husband had felt uncomfortable about that and decided against the idea. Had my son been in the truck, there would have been much more damage, possible injuries, and much more cost to fix everything because it is a heavier vehicle. This last one, I believe, was the tender mercy that made all the difference. My husband often drives the smaller car on the longer distance drives for the money savings, and I am grateful he listened to that feeling of discomfort that came. The last silver lining came hours later as the adrenaline wore off for my son and he was able to talk about what he learned and be humble enough to recognize that he needed to learn from the experience.
Life happens all the time. I could spend hours and pages relating instances in life where life happened, but God was there to help out, seeing the silver linings in so many situations. Maybe a book … I’ll have to think on that. But needless to say, it happens all the time, and for all of us. But we have to be willing to see and appreciate those silver linings, or as I like to call them, tender mercies from the Lord.