(I know I've mentioned before that Domestic Kingdom is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. I am so excited to introduce you to Gloria Furman today. She's smart. She's an excellent writer. And she always points me to the gospel. I think you'll be encouraged by this post and love her as much as I do.)
This, too, shall pass?
I remember being very eager to bathe our newborn son by the time we brought him home from the hospital.
His adoring big sisters followed me into our bathroom so they could watch him get his first bath. We were amazed to see just how much fuzzy brown hair he had as I washed it. It was like one of those “Chia pet” plants that seem to sprout grass overnight.
I laid his 7-pound, wrinkled, little body down on my bed to diaper him.
Then his sisters descended on him like seagulls scrambling for a piece of popcorn on the boardwalk. That’s what it felt like to him, anyway.
Within moments the girls had started a tug-of-war and three out of three children were wailing. Frustrated, I not-so-kindly excused the girls to their room where I could still hear them arguing through the static of the baby monitor. I scooped up my tiny newborn in his towel to calm him down.
As his lamb-like bleats slowed to a whimper I found that I was crying, too.
How on earth am I supposed to do this? I worried. This and other overwhelming thoughts flooded my heart. I knew that feeling overwhelmed was normal when one brings home a new baby. I knew that eventually things would settle down around the house.
But the circumstantial affirmation of “This, too, shall pass” had failed me before. I had experienced enough seasonal difficulties in life to know that I needed a more solid rock to stand on.
Is there enough coffee in the world to keep me going? Can I just blackmail myself to be thankful for what I have? Will pulling myself up by my bootstraps lift me into being a more patient mother? I’m no stranger to these thoughts.
Of course, I know that no amount of medium-roast Columbian espresso can give me peace. As for the fruit of coerced gratitude—it tastes as artificial as ethyl butyrate passed off as orange juice.
But the bootstraps of moralism will never break. Therein lies a great problem. Because if I muster my willpower to be the godliest, most patient, most energetic, most discerning, most loving mother that my prideful heart feels that I am, then the bootstraps of moralism will strangle me.
Lead me to the Rock
I need a promise more sure than the transient hope that my circumstances could soon change.
I need a power with more energy than the fleeting buzz I get from a power nap.
I need my heart to be purified by a Refiner who is more capable than what my moralistic self-righteousness fails to do.
Psalm 61:1-2 says,
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
The truths in God’s word are the rock that is higher than I. In the Bible I read how God’s grace has the upper hand on my life—over my temporary circumstances and over my sin.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by life’s circumstances then I need to cry out to the Lord and ask him to lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
We all need God’s grace, don’t we? Whether you have a baby’s warm spit-up dripping down the back of your shirt, or you’re trapped in the middle of office politics and you can’t see any way out, or you’re not sure where next month’s rent is coming from, or you’re stuck in traffic, or you’ve just lost your temper with a friend and “blown it” again, or even if you honestly feel like everything is going just fine. We all need to go to the rock.
Because of the gospel, God’s sovereign grace in our lives is the singular, enduring circumstance in which we live. God’s faithfulness shall never, ever pass.
Richard Sibbes said that our faith in Christ is like an eagle flying high in the sky. Faith can look up to see Christ there in heaven while also looking down on the earth to see how Jesus is ruling over all things for our good and for his glory.
When we cry out to our compassionate God and seek his face to find hope then he shows us Jesus. Jesus is our steadfast hope! When our hope is in Christ then we will never be put to shame as God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
No matter if your background noise is the dull roar of chaos or a quiet Saturday morning, we can sing together with the psalmist and the great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1) who have gone before us and have tasted and seen that God is good!
“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:3-8).