Comfort in the Familiar

Valentine’s Day landed midweek this year. My husband and I drove to the coast, one of our favorite places to visit. We’ve traveled this route many times—each curve of the road familiar, the line of trees along the shoulder the same, the waterways running alongside still carving out the path they’ve been reshaping for decades.

Comfort often comes in the well-known. Memories surface from previous visits. Like the wayside where my family often stopped for breakfast when I was a child because I became too carsick to continue without food. Or the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant my husband and I visited forty years ago and had a bowl of their homemade mushroom and potato soup. We both remember how delicious it tasted. That’s saying something since he doesn’t like mushrooms.

And yet, within the familiarity, comes change. We mourned over the giant trees still laying across the streams after the recent ice storm, their roots exposed, their trunks left to decay. The potholes along one stretch are bigger now. Maneuvering around them takes concentration. The stretch of beach near the jetty is overgrown with windblown plants and multiple rises of sand that block the view. Both of us recall when we could leave the parking area and run unobstructed to the water’s edge. Tides and time have altered the shore to the degree that this is no longer a pleasant place to stay long.

Walking with God is like our journey to the ocean. We remember the first years getting to know him. The things he did for us as he claimed us for his own. Our memories move on to the comfort we’ve found in his presence. Knowing that no matter what happens, God makes all things possible in his time. We are warmed by his words in Jeremiah 3:13: “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’” We look forward to our tomorrows knowing life brings change and those differences may alter the landscape of our lives. But because God has walked with us in the past, we can trust him to be with us as we face the future. He will not abandon us.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


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