Lessons in Adversity

“Anyone can hold the helm when the Sea is calm,” 

my Grandmother May told me as we gathered the tomatoes

and cucumbers for that night’s Dinner Salad.

I was 8 years old, spending a week with my Great Grandmother in Paw Paw, West Virginia during summer break.

Earlier that morning, I had awakened to a cacophony of thunderous shouting coming from the kitchen downstairs.

I have no idea, after all these years, exactly what the raised voices were saying, but an obvious conflict was alive in that kitchen.  Both my Grandma and my Uncle were decidedly upset, but what remains clearest in my mind is the way my 76 year old Great Grandmother handled her vexations.

She kept on going, doing “the next thing” in our morning routine.  Wash the dishes, sweep the kitchen floor, weed the garden, make preparations for dinner.. and all the while, she gave herself little pep talks out loud.

“It’s easy to be happy when things are going your way, but the cup that is shaken shows what is inside,” she mused aloud, winking at me in the garden as we weeded.

Scriptures were spouted as we hung the wash on the line in the sunshine:  “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”   (Proverbs 24:10)

I learned so much that day.  Grandma May steered a steady course regardless of the circumstances.  I suspect her beloved son, a rebellious young man who reeked havoc all throughout his life, gave her heart an ache that was nearly inconsolable.  And yet, she held on.  When troubles crashed over her like a tidal wave, she clung to the helm and kept herself from capsizing.

Did she ever wonder why GOD allowed these things to happen?   Why had her husband died?  Why did her son choose the wide, worldly path, when he had been trained up in the ways of the LORD?

I think from the vantage  point of eternity,
adversity had taught Grandma May what JESUS
could do for her…
and what she could not do for herself. 
She had no confidence in herself,
but a well founded confidence in HIM. 
When you are in the midst of a storm,
 remember WHO holds the power to calm it. 
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
 “Quiet! Be still!”
Then the wind died down
and it was completely calm. 
He said to his disciples,
“Why are you so afraid?
Do you still have no faith?”
-Mark 4:39-40

2 thoughts on “Lessons in Adversity

    1. Yes, Jamey, my Grandma May was one of the greatest influences in my young life. I have remembered this particular event many times in my life when things were not going my way… What an enormous help it is to me! I’m thrilled that you stopped by my blog!



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