I love when God turns those really hard days into sweet ones. The days can sometimes feel so painful–like labor perhaps. (So I’ve heard:)) But after all the pain there is a sweet relief. In labor it comes from the sweet cry of a precious new baby. The pain is covered with an overwhelming joy. For me, the sweetness after a bitter day came from God’s word. He was my relief. And isn’t this how all our days shall end–in the comfort of our Savior? These days are exhausting nonetheless from all the emotions, but refreshing and joyful in the end.
Last week I had one of those days. In the past 4 1/2 months since my husband and I received our first foster baby, CJ, there have been two times when I’ve been hit hard with the reality that he is not “ours” permanently. The first was about a month in when the chaos settled and I finally felt like a mommy, his mommy—a feeling I’ve waited years for and the joy was indescribable. I was finally settling into “mommy-hood“and loving every minute and then it hit—he is not “ours” yet and may never be. That was a hard day.
For me, the sweetness after a bitter day came from God’s word. He was my relief.
The second was last week with the same reality. The difference was within that in between time, CJ’s birth mom had been telling us that she would like us to adopt him. The day she first said that I about fell out of my chair, and it’s pretty much been a roller coaster ever since. So last week Mom seemed to be making attempts to get him back, thus the trying day. But the way the Lord used His word to minister to me was sweet, and that’s what I’d like to share.
The Lord immediately brought Psalm 37 to mind. I spent much time memorizing and meditating on this psalm last summer when I was struggling with not conceiving. After 4 years of trying and two miscarriages, nothing was happening—except everyone else getting pregnant, or so it seemed. God’s commands to “Trust in the Lord” (vs.3), to “Delight yourself in the Lord” (vs. 4), to “Commit your way to the Lord” (vs. 5), to “Be still before the Lord” (vs. 7), and to “Refrain from anger” (vs. 8) spoke loudly to my aching heart and guided my actions. (The English teacher in me also loves the repetition of these imperatives;) ) Instead of sulking and growing bitterness, I tried my best to continue to make these truths a reality in my life and simply DO them. Guess what? It helped.
How ironic that a year later, I am blessed to be Mommy to an amazing baby boy and still need to hear the same truths. But it’s not ironic to the believer– it’s providential. God knew last summer that I would need Psalm 37 this summer too. It blew my mind. I am “waiting” on something so different, but the promises are the same.
This situation reminded me that our circumstances will never be able to bring lasting and fulfilling joy here on earth.
I must not “fret” over losing baby CJ for God has already planned who his forever home will be; instead, I need to “trust” in God’s plan and “be still.” I need to “delight” and be thankful to the Lord for the gift he has given us in this precious boy. I need to “commit” to honor the Lord in the way we handle the situation with his mom and “commit” to praying for her salvation. And I need to “refrain from anger.” There are many frustrating aspects in this fostering/adoption process, but a system is in place and we need to be thankful for that.
Our desires, ALL our desires, need to be given to the Lord. We need to trust that He will take care of them, and then seek all our joy in Him (Psalm 37:3-4). Our time cannot be focused on how to fulfill our own desires, but instead on how to please the Lord, how to serve Him and honor Him in ALL we do (Deut. 10:20-21). We must remember what He did on the cross for us. When we deserved nothing and did nothing to earn it, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and bore ALL our sin (1 Peter 2:24). God has graciously given us ALL we need—the promise of eternal life with Him; therefore, we have nothing to fret (Romans 5:8-10).
Our time cannot be focused on how to fulfill our own desires, but instead on how to please the Lord, how to serve Him and honor Him in ALL we do.
Because of these truths, and only because of them, we can love baby CJ without fear. But this we will need reminding of, for we cannot do this on our own.
In John Piper’s book Future Grace he says: “If our present enjoyment of Christ now — our present faith — does not have in it the Yes to all God’s promises, it will not embrace the power for radical service in the strength that God (in every future moment) will supply (1 Peter 4:11). For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. (2 Corinthians1:20) “If all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus],’ then to trust him now in the present is to believe that his promises will come true. Those are not two separate faiths — trusting him, and believing in his promises. Believing in Jesus means believing that he keeps his word. Being satisfied in the crucified and risen Jesus now includes the belief that at every future moment, to all eternity, nothing will separate us from his love, or keep him from working all things together for good.”
God’s holy word is always true, and it will always guide us on how to live and how to trust the Lord more deeply. His promises and His love will always remain.
What is a desire you are waiting on the Lord to fulfill? How are you applying God’s truth to your waiting, your fears, your hopes, and your pains? “Commit your way to the Lord; TRUST in Him, and He will act.” (Psalm 37:5)
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Image Credit: Ryk Neethling, Creative Commons