The local newspapers of the early 20th century were filled with town gossip, wedding announcements, death notices, and stories of gay parties. When my great grandparents packed all of their belongings, leaving Illinois for a rural life in northern Indiana in the spring of 1912, they received a lovely farewell party given by friends and family. The little paper in their town filled part of a page with a story of the event and described the beautiful wicker rocking chair given to the parting family as a remembrance of their rich relationships with family and friends.
The brown wicker chair has been in my family since that day, and it belongs to me now. On the seat of the rocker is a break in the shape of a heel mark, with its own story. On the day after Christmas 39 years ago, my dad’s cabin in the Indiana woods was broken in to by thieves taking advantage of the time of year to hopefully help themselves to someone’s Christmas gifts. When they broke through a bedroom window, one of them put their foot down on the rocker, breaking part of the wicker seat. Dad never had it repaired.
The rocker has been used for many purposes over the last 108 years. It has lulled crying babies, made fireplace hearths more welcoming, even served as a catch-all for clothing in my home! It has brought joy and seen sorrow, showing wear with the years. Life is like that, except not as easy to repair as broken wicker. We need faith in God to bring us His strength for our journey—and He’s promised it in His Word:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
The circumstances of life often leave a mark on us, but with God on our side we can gain strength from what we experience. What does that strength look like? It may be courage to face illness or a financial setback, it may be peace as you walk through a difficult situation, and it may be an abiding faith and underlying joy as you watch God bring your answer. Will you let Him guide your steps? He promises to bring good from every experience—even the heel marks of life!