It happened when the school year had barely left the ground. Two of my three kids, James and Faith, plodded through homework in their favorite spots around the house. My other child, Ethan the percussionist, ate an early dinner before a friend picked him up for symphony practice. As I pulled dinner together for the remaining four of us, Ethan ran upstairs to grab his hoodie and drum sticks. Faith called out that his ride had arrived, so I made my way from the kitchen to the front door.
That’s when I heard what sounded like the everlovin’ house falling down as Ethan tripped and tumbled down half the staircase.
I flew to the foot of the stairs just in time to see Ethan’s head smack hard — very hard — into a table. He lay motionless on the floor, and I stood breathless in my spot.
I dropped down, my hand gently touching the back of his head. Finding my voice, I squeaked,
“Ethan! Wake up, baby! Wake up!”
After a few seconds, he stirred, and my husband and I helped him sit down on the stairs. Because miracles are real, Ethan suffered only a mild concussion and an injured arm that required physical therapy.
Ethan seems to grow an inch a day, so it’s easy to see how his changing height tinkers with his equilibrium. Combine this with his size 12 feet and the way he descends stairs like a great dane who’s been called to dinner, and I wonder how this kind of fall hasn’t happened sooner.
Sometimes life throws curveballs that can affect us just the same. We are moving full steam ahead when something knocks us off our equilibrium. Maybe that something is an unwanted change in the form of a dream dashed or a disappointment received. Whatever it is, it causes you to twist and tumble downward, hitting and bumping every hard surface along the way. Next thing you know you’re sprawled on the ground with your head aching.
Or your heart broken.
For the longest time, a curveball didn’t have to hit me too hard to knock me flat on my back. I would lie there panicked, all kinds of worst case scenarios flashing through my mind. It would take me a long time to get to my feet and walk steady again.
While I’ve written a book about how to deal with life’s curveballs, I’ve not mastered it completely. They can still trip me up and knock me over. However, I don’t stay down as long as I used to, and there’s one key reason why: I am more intentional about spending time with Jesus. Because the only rock-solid ground to stand on is Solid Rock truth. The more I do this, the less curveballs send me over the edge.
Not long ago I re-read the passage of Joseph’s story in the Old Testament where Pharaoh chose him as his own right-hand-man. Because God gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharoah’s dreams, Joseph knew Egypt and other countries would face seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. To ensure food would be available during the lean years, Joseph prepared the nation by saving grain during the years of plenty. So when times were tough, the people of Egypt and the surrounding lands gleaned from the storehouses and were saved from ruin.
My time with Jesus works much the same way. If I consistently keep company with Him through the Word and conversation during the good times, I build up a storehouse of faith. Then I discover I am able to feast on it during seasons of famine, too. And when curveballs tinker with my equilibrium.
Jesus doesn’t demand our presence, He simply invites us into His.
Because while time doesn’t heal all wounds, time with the Healer does.