That phrase got me through the fourth grade.
I’d been sick with the flu during Christmas break, and the illness kept me home from school when the new semester started. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sick.
When I finally made it back to school in mid-January, I discovered all the desks had been rearranged into friendly little foursomes. I roamed the classroom, searching in vain for my nametag. I finally found my desk, shoved against the wall at the back of the room. Apparently, my teacher assumed I wasn’t coming back. Gee. Thanks.
To top it off, some of the girls I was friends with had deemed me a pariah of some sort during a slumber party. No one was speaking to me.
It wasn’t my best year.
The year of the worst school picture ever.
The first (and last) “F” I ever got on a paper.
The year I learned correcting your teacher’s spelling errors on the blackboard is not wise.
I spent recesses that spring bouncing a tennis ball off the brick wall of the school building, alone.
How comforted I was by those words! I repeated them over and over, a mantra for my 9-year-old soul. Years later, when I’d learned to discern the voice of the Lord, I realized just Who had spoken those words to me, and I was thankful all over again.
Recently, I looked it up, now that we have “the Internet machine” (as my son calls it) to research these things. To my surprise, the phrase, which I cannot ever remember hearing before that moment on the playground, is an ancient proverb, appearing in Persian, Jewish, and Turkish folklore, used to humble kings and lift up the afflicted.
It comes back to me every so often, when I’m struggling to accept a season of life, or when I need to be reminded to rejoice in the here and now.
What proverbs, quotes, and phrases are engraved into your life?
What is going on in your life right now that you need to take heed to these words? Whether it’s a good thing like children growing up, or a negative thing like loneliness, or a work schedule that seems impossible?