When my son was six years old, he came to me with a very serious problem.
“Mom,” Nathan began, his little brow furrowed, “when I grow up … if I write a book … will you help me know when it’s ‘t-o’ and when it’s ‘t-o-o’?”
“Sure, buddy!” I encouraged. “Those are kinda tricky, aren’t they?”
He walked away, relieved. I didn’t have the heart to point out that he’d forgotten a third option: t-w-o.
When you’re six, homophones are hard!
Of course, after age six, spelling gets easier, but other things seem a bit more difficult. We grow up to find that life holds huge challenges and heartaches, like the loss of a job, a scary diagnosis, or a relationship in turmoil.
We worry and ache and grieve and hurt and wonder when everything got so much harder than to and too (and two).
But. What if life still is that simple? I don’t mean to belittle our struggles at all. I write this shortly after burying one family member, and in the midst of watching another fight for her life. People close to me are walking through stories of pain — emotional, relational, financial — and my heart breaks as I shake my head and wonder how God will heal it all. Hardships are scary and sad and real.
And yet, I still wonder … what if, someday, our biggest struggles prove to actually be no more complex than to, too, and two?
Because, honestly, the day Nathan asked me for help with his homophones, I wasn’t a bit worried. I knew that, at age six, this was a big deal to him. But I also knew that very soon, he’d have those words mastered. I knew that in no time at all, he’d write something like, “Give it to those two, too,” without a second thought. I knew he’d learn the words in school, and pick them up in reading, and then, what had once seemed like an insurmountable obstacle standing in the way of his career as an author would no longer even cross his mind. I knew he’d learn. He’d grow. He’d conquer.
And won’t the same be true of our struggles? Aren’t today’s biggest troubles as minor to God as Nathan’s homophones were to me? God is not uncaring — He hurts right along with us and sympathizes with us in our weaknesses — but He also knows the rest of the story. He knows what He’s bringing about for our good.
He knows that, in His strength, we will learn and grow and conquer.
He knows that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
God knows that our struggles are as hard — and as simple — as to, too and two.