Ups and Downs

My kids keep asking me if I'll bounce on the new trampoline with them. I keep telling them that I can bounce without the trampoline, thank you very much. Besides I could get hurt on that thing. Not just the average compound fracture either. You see, women nearing mid-life don't want to sass gravity.

Case in point: Before approaching that mid-season of life, we can spot a friend some distance away and give a big, friendly wave. Not so as we approach forty. I've noticed the last few years when I give one of those big waves, the hand part of the wave is long over before that fluttery stuff that used to be my upper arm stops waving. No one wants to be that friendly.

I now do the forty-ish wave. For those of you who aren't there yet, here are the instructions: Raise arm until elbow is almost even with shoulder. While careful to keep all of upper arm stationary, wiggle fingers (and only fingers) vigorously in a friendly fashion. Slowly and carefully lower arm. If no part of you has slapped another, successful forty-ish wave has been accomplished.

How exasperating that even a wave has become more complicated. How can I get on a trampoline with that kind of instability? What if while my feet are touching the trampoline, the rest of me is still in the air? Couldn't I get hurt when all that stuff is coming down and the rest of me is flying back up? I could meet myself coming and going. I'd sooner look into atom-splitting. It might even be safer. One rogue upper arm could put an eye out. We won't even talk about what a thigh could do.

Someone suggested I might consider using duct tape on all those "not so stationary as they used to be" parts. I was afraid that could require an awful lot of duct tape. I don't think I ever want to be quite that silver. The last thing I want is to find my picture on the front page of The National Informer under "UFO Has Neighborhood Up in the Air."

It's one more reminder that life definitely has its ups and downs. Let me bounce this idea off of you: For every "down," God gives us an opportunity to be someone else's "up." Second Corinthians 1:3-5 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

Isn't it amazing that the Lord can use our own down times to help others in theirs? And according to this passage, for every down we suffer, Jesus gives a comfort that reaches so much deeper than the "down." His love and comfort reach beyond any hurt. Psalm 34:17-20 says, "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken."

We can't come up with a bad experience that's bigger than his comfort. No matter what we suffer, it's covered. Yes, even a trampoline triple compound fracture! Covered! His comfort is big enough to cover it all. Not only cover it, fill it. Not only fill it, but overflow it!

Knowing the Father of Compassion is ready with comfort in mass quantity can add a little bounce to any day. The good kind of bounce. And knowing the Lord is working in our lives through our valleys puts an entirely new spin on the down times we suffer. Second Corinthians 4:17 says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." Now there's the kind of uplifting message that's guaranteed to put a bounce in your step. No duct tape required.

[ Contributed by Rhonda Rhea ( -- from 'Daily Wisdom' ]


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