So it wouldn't be a Hester family road trip without a book. And the Lord has such perfect timing.
Our current read-aloud is called Seal of God. It is engaging, readable, relatable, and inspiring. (Caveat: it is about a young, wayward man who desires to become a Navy Seal for revenge...but finds a Savior instead. There are some stories of serious misbehaving....which my kids found HILARIOUS. But others may not find so appropriate for their children).
Anyhow! Imagine the perfect timing of this story, as the author describes the grueling exercises involved in Seal Training. Imagine, our ability to relate as he describes "Hell week", including "surf tortures" and the "Grinder."
This week....definitely felt like a grinder. Ben and I had some good laughs as we read about the author consistently being pushed far beyond what he mentally, physically, and emotionally thought possible.
But it also carried a lot of profound lessons for us. There is no easy way to train for the hard things. (If there were, I'm sure we would choose the easy way every time.). You can only really train for the hard things...by going through hard things. There is a strength, a resolve, and definitely a surrender. I don't like it when people say "God won't give you more than you can handle." For two main reasons: first, because that's not what the Bible actually says.(It does say that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that He will always give us a way of escape from what we are being tempted with). And second, because my experience is that God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle. That's kind of the point. His power is made perfect in our weakness.
And while we aren't going through Navy SEAL training...we could definitely relate, and have been so encouraged to keep going by this book.
And personally, I have been re-reading a sweet one: A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. This book as well has been so valuable and relatable. I have been so enriched by the beautiful pictures of the Good Shepherd...when he takes his sheep to a new place (even the valley of the shadow of death), He makes several trips beforehand to survey the land where He will bring His sheep. What a comforting thought to know that even when I don't like where I find myself, I can know that He has been here before me, preparing the land and me before I ever get there.
I'll leave you with a timely quote from this book (speaking of sheep in a storm, and how the Shepherd must remain with them-that when cold threatens to take over He may give them a drink of wine to warm their bodies):
"What a picture of my Master, sharing the wine, the very life blood of His own suffering from His overflowing cup, poured out at Calvary for me. He is there with me in every storm. My Shepherd is alert to every approaching disaster that threatens His people. He has been through the storms of sufferings before. He bore our sorrows and was acquainted with our grief.
And now no matter what storms I face, His very life and strength and vitality is poured into mine."--Phillip Keller