“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13: 5-6
“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure…You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill my with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:9, 10, 11
Stephen and I have been reading the Psalms lately. It has been awhile since I poured over them, and I had forgotten what a balm to the soul they are! If anyone knew suffering and trials, it was David! I love how honestly he relays his struggles, “How long will you forget me, oh God?”, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger…be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint.” He grapples with serious, painful situations, but in the end, he always comes back to preaching truth to himself. Even while David may feel abandoned by God, he knows that God has always been faithful in the past. The Psalms always end with truth and rejoicing in God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.
Two major things have weighed heavily on our hearts these past few months. The intensity, difficulty, and increasing demands of Stephen’s job, and this pregnancy, which seems to be ever hanging in the balance. While we are grateful for his job, because it brought us to the Quad Cities and First Baptist Church, it is taking its toll on our family. The ever-lengthening hours and physical requirements take everything Stephen has to give, and he has practically nothing left when he gets home. While we have been crying out to the Lord to provide another job the whole time we have been here, in the last few months, our cries have reached a new intensity as we both have reached our breaking point. Some days it is tempting to wonder if God has indeed forgotten us.
And then there is this little life within me. It seems every couple of weeks, we are shakily calling the doctor again (it always happens to be after hours, too!) asking what we should do in light of the current situation. When I get into the ER or the office, the answer is always the same. They simply do not know what is wrong, if anything is wrong, what to do about it, and if or how this pregnancy will continue. On our last visit, the doctor’s main concerns were 1)possibility still may miscarry 2)risk of preterm labor. While it is wonderful to hear a heartbeat every visit, and amazing to see that tiny little body on the ultrasound screen wriggling around inside me, I am always left with the reality that that doesn’t promise anything for the future.
I have good days and bad days. I have days where I feel confident, hopeful, and peaceful, that everything is going to be fine, and I will deliver a healthy, full-term baby. And I have days where I cannot climb out from under this weight of heaviness over my heart, gnawing at me that I will not get to raise this baby either.
That is why I am grateful for the Psalms! In God’s wisdom, he inspired men like King David and others to detail their heart’s wrestling over similar struggles, and in the end, to point them to God’s faithfulness, his goodness, his sovereignty. In that is my hope found, and in nothing else. God has placed us in such a way that we really have nothing to place our hope in, other than him. The doctors are baffled. They have no answers, only more questions. They have no promises that everything will be fine. They can quote statistics and say “You’ve carried the baby this far, hopefully that means something good!” But that is a false foundation on which to build my hope. If I placed my hope in all of that, I would crumble and fall if that all fell through.
But if I hope in the Gospel, Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf, in God’s love for me, in his faithfulness and control over all things, I can rest securely that his will will be done, and he will be with us through it all, whether painful or joyful. And I can trust that he is working all things together not only for my good, but for his glory.
“I have set the Lord always before me…I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8