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I use Hannah's Bible for my reading time each morning. There's just something so special about using her Bible. It's full of her doodling, favorite Scriptures, and notes. Here's a peek inside ...
Of course, the irony of her using the word "healthy" as part of this acrostic is not lost on me. And her describing herself as "athletic" makes me giggle. Her favorite class was Spanish, thus the "alegre", which means happy or cheerful ... and that truly was our girl (with a little nosiness thrown in).
Anyway, earlier this week I was reading in Matthew chapter 4, and something I've probably read a hundred times jumped out at me in a whole new way. (Isn't it cool when God does that?)
This is what it says, starting in verse 18 and going through verse 22:
"As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."
At once they left their nets.
Immediately they left the boat.
They just left.
These guys made their living as fishermen. My guess would be that that was the only life they had ever really known. And yet, when Jesus called them, they left all that behind ... even the tools of their trade. They somehow knew that everything was going to be different from now on. A profound change had taken place, changing the very trajectory of their lives.
Reading this story made me think of how our lives have changed over the past seven years.
Hannah's diagnosis with cancer in February of 2008 was the first indication that we were about to be asked to drop our nets. As a year passed in a bewildering whirl of radiation treatments and varying chemotherapy regimens, we found ourselves being called to climb out of the boat. And when she left us for Heaven in February of 2009, it was time to let go of those fishing implements for good.
Now I hope you don't have the idea that we dropped those things willingly, like I think the disciples did. We fought with everything we had to hold on to the life we had known since Hannah was born seventeen years before that. We pursued every option available to us to keep her with us ... but our sovereign and loving God had another plan ... and we had to let her go.
Oh, how I would love to get back into the boat and pick up my nets as if nothing had ever changed! What I would give to go back to the way things used to be, before I knew that teenagers got cancer and died. If I could cross my arms, blink and nod like Barbara Eden used to do, I would do it in the space of a heartbeat.
But when God called us to drop our nets and leave our boat behind, it was not a temporary gig. He did not intend for us to return to life as we knew it. Not that He wanted us to forget our life with Hannah ... far from it! Those memories are priceless gifts from Him! No, He wants us to use those experiences to know Him and serve Him in a more authentic way.
Even after nearly 6 1/2 years, we are still learning what that looks like. Thankfully, He is patient with us, and understands when we try to pick up those nets again.
Lord, help us to live well while we're waiting.