It was about a year ago the doubt began. We had just moved across states, a three month old and a not-quite two year old in tow, living in temporary housing while we renovated a house. I didn’t necessarily want to move, but a new job opportunity for my husband called, and I agreed, wanting him to pursue his dreams. As the weeks ticked by with a colicky newborn, and nap-striking toddler, and no friends or family available for support in a unfamiliar city, the doubt grew. Slowly at first, but soon spreading, infecting, deepening its roots in my heart.
As I watched my toddler play with the handful of toys we brought to temporary housing, I found myself thinking about all that had happened: the move, the baby, the toddler tantrums, the long hours my husband worked, the colic, the loneliness, the fear – the feeling of abandonment by God. I was wallowing in self-pity, feeling unloved and unseen by a Father that I had always been close to. I began to believe the lie that I am the orphan, knowing I have a father, but never feeling his love, joy and affection for me.
The lies crept further in telling me that I was overlooked by God, unremembered, passed over. I was disappointed with God and questioned his goodness when he didn’t answer my pleas. I was asking him for a change, for the good gifts he promises me in his word, but as the weeks ticked by with nothing but the same struggles, I began to question if God cared for me at all.
Missing the Point
I sat on a grey, hotel-grade, microfiber couch in our temporary apartment and cracked my Bible open with a free hand. My daughter was on my lap, gnawing on Sophie the Giraffe and my toddler was grabbing as many books as his arms could hold and asking me to read to him. I told him I’d tell him a story from “Momma’s Bible” instead, and even though Christmas was eight months away, I told him the story of Jesus’ birth – because it was the first thing that popped into my head.
It was in that moment of retelling a common Bible story to my children I realized, when I doubt that God is for me, that he doesn’t have good things in store for me, I am forgetting the truth: That God already gave me the ultimate good gift – the birth and sacrifice of Son.
The whole time I was missing the point, ignoring the cross. I was so caught up in wanting to feel proof of his love that I had lost the wonder in the fact that He loves me at all and chose me first. I was spending my days grumbling about my version of goodness instead of being grateful for the truth of his. I was disappointed in his decisions instead of delighting in the only decision that mattered – the decision I never deserved – the cross.
He Is the Gift
Have you been there? Have you wondered if God is still for you? Are you in a trial or asking for something right now, wondering where God is? If he remembers you? If he loves you? If he wants good things for you?
Maybe it’s that you’re lonely and need friends, or have chronic sickness in the family. Maybe it’s an extra needy child, your marriage, a move, or a job. Maybe it’s a pregnancy that hasn’t happened yet or one that has ended in loss. Maybe it’s a combination of the above and more. Or maybe it’s just a tough day, week, month, or year.
The thing is, we’re supposed to be both the persistent widow knocking on the door at midnight while also trusting Him to care for us like the sparrow in the field. There are seasons to ask, and there are seasons to receive. But it’s not about what we ask for and what we don’t. It’s about what we’re looking at, what our heart cares for.
When we draw our eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus and his incredible sacrifice, we realize we already have all we need. Like the blind man who receives sight, we don’t have to know the why of yesterday or the plan for tomorrow, all we need to know is “that though I was blind, now I see,” and we can now worship at our healer’s feet.
It is in our trials we learn to stop searching the floors for crumbs and instead raise our sight to the table with the feast. He lavishes grace upon grace on us daily. He is our deepest joy. Our greatest victory. He is for us and never against us. We have not been forgotten or overlooked – we are always remembered and looked upon.
One day, all will be made new, and we will realize the full goodness of his gifts and love for us. On the day Christ returns we will finally see and understand how all was for our good and his ultimate glory. It will be a sweet, sweet day of restoration, but until then we trust that what we know in the good times, is true in the bad times: He is the blessing; he is the gift.