Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:1-3
As a working mom, I don’t always have the time I would like to devote to Biblical study. Many mornings I have my praise and worship time listening to Christian CD’s on my drive to work. Last year, a dear spiritual mentor gifted me the book, Jesus Calling: Experiencing Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. It is a wonderful 365 day devotional book with Scripture and spiritual reflection. Many mornings, God gives me the Word I need for the day through this book. Today was one of those mornings. Here’s what I found:
“Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today’s tasks–or even tomorrow’s. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me.”
There are times in our lives when the future can look pretty tough. For my family, we are in the midst of one of those times. My three year old niece will be having heart surgery in less than two weeks. In the world of cardiac surgery, the procedure itself is fairly simply. A blood vessel that was supposed to disappear before birth has grown around her trachea and the surgeon needs to remove it. However, because of the placement of the vessel, they have to go through her ribs and move aside a lung to get to the vessel. She will come out of surgery with a chest tube and on ventilation. Her recovery will be very painful, and there is no way to prepare her for any of it. Needless to say, we’re all a little stressed!
My dad isn’t sleeping. I’m not sure my mom is eating. My sister is maniacally planning. My brother in law is maniacally working. And I am in a constant state of denial, like at the last moment the radiologist who first found the vessel will come bursting into the operating room shouting, “Oops! My bad!! You don’t need to do this, after all!” The whole situation is terrifying, all the more so because we have no control over any of it. And when future events are looming about which you have no control it can become very easy to fall into the gaping hole that is fear and anxiety.
But this is what I know to be true. God doesn’t want me in that hole. That hole is a useless empty place where nothing good can be accomplished. That hole takes me farther away from the Peace and Assurance that God has promised me. “And lo, I will be with you always….” Jesus told his disciples. “Even unto the ends of the Earth.” The ends of the Earth here includes the operating table, as my sister so sagely pointed out to me the other day. As she and God were working through her anxieties and fears, she realized that God could go with her daughter to places she, as a mother, could not. God can go with our little girl into the operating room. God can be with her through the surgery. God can, and will, go with her into the recovery room. And God will be with her as she awakens and has to work through pain she’s never experienced before.
God is there in the midst of our scary, tough uncertain futures. He’s already making a way for us that we cannot even see!! And no matter what happens, He’s going to be there–even if it all goes awry.
When Job was in the midst of his suffering, God came to him, not to offer words of comfort, but to remind him that He (God) was the Creator and Sustainer of all things. It was God who was there at the beginning of time, God who created all things in Heaven and Earth, God who sets out the course of life and God who has ultimate wisdom and understanding.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Jesus asked his disciples. The answer, no one. I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. Some of it will be scary, some of it will hurt. But some of it will be wonderful and beautiful as well. And through it all, God will be there, our Strength and our Song to the end.
Blessings and Peace,