Monday, April 30, 2012

The Shadows Prove the Sunlight

Yesterday I packed a snack and water cup for my two-year-old daughter, dressed her in a pink sundress and pigtails, and dropped her off at the church nursery.  I sat next to my husband and held his hand as we sang hymns, shared a electronic Bible with him, and poked him when he made funny comments during the sermon.  It was a very normal, happy day for our little family.

Across the continent, my friends were crying.  Their baby girl had just died in their arms.  After 9 months of expectation, of waiting, of doing everything just right, after a labor and delivery that seemed absolutely perfect, they spent 24 hours wondering why their baby girl wouldn't breathe on her own... and then held her as she was welcomed home to her Father in Heaven.

A few states north of me, another friend was also grieving.  A year ago she was excitedly telling me about her and her newly-wed husband's plans to move West and start their dream life.  Then, all of a sudden, I saw on Facebook that he had cancer.  Just like that, their plans all changed.  We all prayed for healing and for persevering grace.  Yesterday, the Lord answered those prayers by bringing her husband into a perfect body that will never suffer again, and His grace has shone through her testimony (and his) throughout this entire trial.

It hit me that they both just lost the things I most treasure on this earth.  I mean, what would it be like to make that post to Facebook: "my husband is with Jesus now."  Or "Thank you for all your prayers; we'll need them even more as we head home from the hospital with empty arms"?  I can imagine all too well.  It would tear my heart to shreds.

And at the same time, the Lord is bringing other thoughts to mind.  Their shadow has opened my eyes to the light I am enjoying.  Shadows are supposed to do that-- to draw our eyes in search of the Light casting them.

And yet I complain to my Father in Heaven that my husband didn't help with the dishes again, that I'm so tired of being woken up to take a toddler "potty" again, that my marriage isn't the easy companionship it is "supposed" to be every day, that my daughter has those days where she tests every single limit in our home (including my sanity).  I complain, and I whine "this isn't what I asked for!  I've obeyed You so well-- can't I get the perfect happy life I "deserve?"" (hah!)

This has been such a reminder of just how happy my life is;  of just how much the Lord has given me in plain, undeserved kindness.  If and when He calls me to go through the trials of loss (someday, I will lose everything I love to death), I know He will give me His Joy and Peace even then.  But in the mean time, really, why do I complain?

Not only do I have the eternal blessings of Holy Spirit to comfort, guide & convict, of a Savior's love so deep it went to Calvary for me and constantly pleads my case in front of God, of a Father who looks at me with pure affection and pride because He only sees His perfect Son when He looks at me-- as if that wasn't enough, I also have a beautiful, safe home in a peaceful country, with a hard-working husband who makes me laugh, and a baby girl whose preciousness only grows every day.  That's just the important stuff-- there are so many other blessings that are gifts I forget about.  As someone once said, "Anything short of Hell is Grace."  And anything on top of that?  I guess it's just extravagance.

May I always treat my Father as an extravagant Giver instead of a stingy kill-joy.  No matter what hardships He ordains for me, I know they are temporary, and are intended to make me happier-- infinitely happy!-- later on.

“For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Soul, then know thy full salvation-
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
What a Father’s smiles are thine,
  What a Savior died to win thee--
Child of heaven, canst thou repine? 
-"Jesus, I my Cross Have Taken")
Seeking to walk as one who knows that Beauty and feels that Smile everyday,

1 comment:

Rebecca Elves said...

Thanks for this post. They are heavy on my heart today and I, too, can imagine all too well.