Rejoice?

In his book ‘To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain’, Matt Chandler shares the story of when his son, Reid, was a little over a year old and while in his crib had a seizure and was unable to breathe. He writes:

The day when the ambulance disappeared out of my sight, knowing that God is God – that nothing is too difficult for Him, that His love and His sovereignty are real – was my foundation. When my heart and mind wanted to go to every plausible reason why despair made sense, the fact that nothing is too hard for God became my reason, my rationality. 

This is why the mature Christian is reasonable. Because, as Paul says, “the Lord is near,” even in a desperate situation like the one I described. Because in that moment, here’s what I had at the ready: the knowledge that the God of the universe, the God who rescued and saved me, is not Himself powerless at all in that moment, is not at all surprised or shocked by that moment, is not reeling one bit or trying to figure out what to do in that moment. The God of the Bible is not an ambulance driver who shows up after the wreck and hops out and thinks, Okay, let’s do some triage here. The God of the Bible does not show up after the accident and try to fix it. That’s not what He does.

He’s there. He knows.

And on that day, the Lord was near, and my son’s life was not too difficult for Him to save. He could be trusted with my son. Reid was and is His. My wife is His. My daughters are His. I am His.

My prayer, then, is, “Lord, help me rejoice in You in this moment. Because I know You are in control. I know You love me; I know You love my family. And I don’t understand what You’re doing, and I don’t know how things are going to work out. But help me to acknowledge that if I have You, I have everything.”

My prayer in that moment, seeking joy in all circumstances, is similar to Job’s – “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:!5) – and Jehosephat’s – “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:20).

Now, let me be very clear, because I’m not trying to make this whole exercise stupid. I didn’t sit in my car with an idiot grin on my face, saying, “Well, I’m glad the Lord’s here, and this is great! Rejoice in the Lord always; and again, I say rejoice!”

That wasn’t happening. That’s what we might call an unreasonable theology. God is not glorified when you act happy about horrific things. 

He’s glorified when, in the deepest possible pain you experience, you still find a way to say, “I trust You. Help me, because my heart is failing in my chest. Help me! My son is Yours. His soul is Yours. His life is Yours. You loaned him to me for Your good to begin with. And I know I’m supposed to hold him loosely, and if you take him home, he’s Yours…but I’d like to keep him.” 

I am still learning what rejoicing in God looks like for me in my life, but I hope and pray that I will be able to have an attitude like this amongst the pain.

xx zs

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I’m back . . .

Quite some time has passed since I last posted on this blog. I feel like so much has happened, but at the same time so little has changed – and I haven’t really had the words or motivation to write about it.

That being said; here are a couple things that have occurred in the life of Zoe over the past couple of months:

Our first wedding anniversary came and went. Christmas came and went. I wasn’t sure what to expect on these days; would I be a mess? Would I be fine? Would I want to be around others? Or would I want to be alone? In the end these days were just like any other days – they were sad and lonely, no matter what I did or who I was with. I think they were best summed up by this message I received from a friend on our wedding anniversary:

‘I’ve been trying to find the words to say to you today. But then I realised that it’s not just today. Or Christmas. Or birthdays. Or any other special occasions. It’s every day. Every occasion. Every moment…my heart breaks for you every day but I know that one day you will be set free from the burden of grief.’

I also attended an eight day leadership conference (more on this to come!) on which I met many beautiful people and which taught me many things; the main one being that I can still function as a real person. As a result of this I have committed to the youth ministry in my church and have sought employment (my first job since Matt’s death). I am still a little unsure of weather or not I am completely ready for these responsibilities, but I think it is now or never.

God is good and is continuing to teach me many things about Himself :)

xx zs