Matthew 10:27 – What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (KJV)
I was on the road for my fiftieth birthday, and upon my arrival home, it was evident someone had gone to a lot of trouble to mark my milestone.
Fifty little paper flower people danced in the breeze from my trees. Baskets of flowers and potted plants lined my lawn. Signs were posted on my doors and cupboards. A papier-mache birthday cake adorned my driveway, accompanied by a big round water trough full of water, with one rubber duckie and fifty floating plastic eggs.
A lot of thought and care had gone into making sure my birthday was acknowledged. The signs came down soon after, as did the papier-mache birthday cake. The paper flower people continued to blow in the wind to be shared by my daughter's friend ten days later, and then for my daughter's birthday at the end of the month. But, it was soon the end of summer and time to take them down.
The trough, however, remained. We laughingly called it our hot tub. A reminder every so often to my friend to pick it up was met with an "Oh yes, I'll get the guys to do that," but still it remained. Soon it was November and the tub kept getting full of rainwater. Still it wasn't retrieved. A couple of friends figured they'd do me a favour and turn it over. I was really wanting it to be removed.
One morning as I looked out to check the weather for my walk, to my delight, several little birds were having the most glorious time skitting around, flicking their feathers, bopping their beaks in the water. They were playing, they were bathing, they were having fun!
Turned upside down, the groove in the bottom allowed just enough depth of water to allow the birds to play and keep their feet on something solid. Right side up they could never have done so, because it was far too deep. Now I almost hope it won't be removed.
There are several sayings appropriate to this: "When life hands you a lemon… make lemonade," or "See it from the other side." Sometimes it's not so easy. Sometimes, when we are given an obstacle, we don't try to "turn it upside down" and see what good can be got from it. Often, though it may not seem apparent at the time, that which seems very hard to bear, in time becomes the strength of our belief. "What we are told in darkness, we can tell in the light."
Prayer: We thank you Lord, for your constant presence. Keep us strong through adversity and help us to help others when obstacles impede their lives. Help us to see the good in things from the other side, when everything seems to be "turned upside down". In Your name we pray. Amen.