Fifteen years ago I found myself working in a local lumber mill. The hours were long. The work was dangerous. And the pay was low. Every day was a struggle physically. The heat was oppressive in the Summer and the cold was constant in the Winter. My back would burn with pain from the constant bending, lifting, and carrying. My feet would ache from standing the entire day. The skin around my fingernails would split and bleed from the continuous work my hands were doing. I tried to keep my spirits up while I worked there, but day by day I felt myself wearing down. Every morning I would place Band-Aides around my fingers and pull on my worn out work boots. And every night I would drag myself home smelling of sweat and sawdust and collapse on the couch.
One evening I felt like I could take it no more. I cried out to God as I drove home alone. “Why God?”, I said. “Why am I working myself to death here just to survive? Why couldn’t I find a better job than this? Why am I having to go through this right now?”
I wasn’t really expecting an answer, but God loves to surprise us. As I struggled up the steps to my front door, I found all three of my young children waiting for me with smiling faces.
“Daddy, Daddy!”, my daughter yelled. I smiled and picked her up with my weary arms. Then after hugging and kissing them all, I laughed for the first time in days and sat down peacefully. Later, I thanked God for His answer. It had given me the strength I needed to go on.
Eventually I moved on to a better job, but I never forgot that answer to my questions. With it God had gently reminded me of the simple truth. We may have to work to live, but we live to love. May you always fill your days with love. May you always fill your life with joy. And may you always find God’s answers everywhere you go.