As much as I enjoyed the rain on Tuesday, I thought about our grandson and his chalk drawings with a bit of concern. A few week’s ago when I went to see him, he came running out of the house chattering for me to come see the “ewwa-phant” and “why-on” his new babysitter had drawn for him. Anytime he says why-on, it is followed by hands raised in fists and a ferocious ROAR!!! I can tell you that I could watch him do this for years and never get bored.
His excitement was short lived as he rounded the corner and hit the bare concrete of their driveway. In stunned silence, the fists dropped and the bright eyes began to mist. He was baffled. An overnight rain had erased every stroke of his beloved pictures. He looked to me, but I was no help. As far as I am concerned, nothing in all of life should take away this little guy’s joy. Ever.
I was about to puddle up myself as I fumbled for some kind of wisdom to help him deal with his loss. Just in time, his mommy appeared. True to the nature she thankfully inherited from her father, she responded quickly and calmly and with great confidence. “Oh Graham! The rain washed it away. It’s ok! We’ll make some more pictures. God washed the driveway so we can make more pictures” Suddenly the loss of the pictures was replaced with the promise of more to come.
After checking several times to make sure the bright colored critters had really disappeared, and getting an extra reassurance of more chalk art in the future, the crisis was averted. He led me into the house, where I was shown even more amazing wonders including a few more ROARS’!!!!
I am a lot like Graham. I have a hard time with the temporal nature of life’s chalk drawings. I could stand for hours bawling beside empty driveways where in times past great fun was had. Letting go of that which no longer exists is an art I have not managed well. But if I don’t let go, how can God make room for new memories?
And so my prayer as an adult has become: Lord, help me to distinguish between the temporal and the eternal.
Rain will wash away chalk drawings, but the wise and loving teachings of a mother about hope and adapting to change will build character.
Paul teaches in Romans 5 that we are to glory in erased chalk drawings, or tribulations, as he calls them. He says that such things produce a cycle of growth that includes building perseverance, character and hope. And he reminds us that hope does not ever disappoint because God has poured His love into our hearts through His Spirit. Now that is something no rain can take away.