…perfect through suffering.
Once a young woman gave birth to a baby girl who was strong, healthy and beautiful. Faith had the usual infant maladies; runny nose, ear infection, colic. Then one evening Faith’s temperature shot up and up and up. Nothing the young mother did seemed to help. In a panic, she rushed her daughter to the emergency room where Faith’s temperature continued to rise. She was surrounded by doctors and nurses and packed in ice. After many long hours, her fever subsided and her temperature returned to normal—Faith never did.
It was several months before this young mother noticed that her beautiful baby girl was not progressing with expected tasks; sitting, crawling; first words. She became concerned and upon further testing Faith was diagnosed with “intellectual disability”—after effects of the high fever.
At first the young mother was devastated as she thought about the life Faith would lead. But then one day she noticed her little girl watching butterflies in the garden. She pointed as they flittered from flower to flower and giggled when the beautiful wings spread wide atop a blossom. Mother sat silently and watched until the last butterfly and the last giggle disappeared.
Late into the night this young mother stood over Faith’s crib and prayed. She thanked God for the blessing of the butterflies and questioned what she could do to bring that same smile to her daughter’s face. As the first light of dawn filtered through her bedroom window, she drifted off to sleep.
A few hours later she awakened with a plan—a butterfly box. For the next few days, she spent every spare moment cutting, pasting, gluing, shaping, and praying, until finally the box was ready to present to Faith. Mother sat Faith on the carpet then placed the box on the floor as she wondered if an inanimate box could possibly bring the desired effect.
Over the years the butterfly box became Faith’s most prized possession. Each night she would point and grunt until mother placed it on the chest next to her bed. For the remainder of her thirty years, the butterfly box would travel with Faith—from room to room, from home to store, on vacation, to the doctor’s office…
Years later, upon mother’s death, Faith’s younger sister, Grace, sat in the garden holding the butterfly box. For the first time, she opened the lid of the well-worn and tattered gift and peeked inside. One note, in the shape of a butterfly, lay open on the box bottom—“I have faith…perfect through suffering!”
Grace sat in the garden watching the butterflies—pointing, giggling and remembering that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Her mother had lived that truth. Now she must do the same. She tucked the butterfly box under her arm—the gift of faith and she would never again leave home without it.
If you are suffering today, I am praying for you.