Day 15… “Sorrowful yet always rejoicing”

2 Corinthians 5:11- 6:17

“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

I came across this sermon on part of this passage a few days ago and was eager to listen to it.   As I read through this passage and then listened to this sermon, I was deeply challenged by the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians.

“What the world needs from the church is our

INDOMITABLE

INVINCIBLE

JOY

in the midst of suffering and sorrow”

- John Piper

I’ve included some thoughts God has stirred in my heart today as I read this passage and listened to this sermon but I think you will be greatly encouraged to listen to this sermon yourself!

“The taste of life that people are aching for is to see a person who is happy in the midst of pain, whose got something so deep, so unshakable, so indomitable, so invincible, so when all around their soul gives way, their joy doesn’t give way.  That would be so salty, so bright.  So bright it would look like the glory of God on the earth.”       -John Piper

I prayed this would be a year of joy.  Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5) I wrote about it here before we even knew we were pregnant with Dasah.  And then I wrote about it again here: “Be filled with Joy” as I was processing this hope for joy this year that was looking so different then what I had thought.  My hope was that I would know Jesus more this year AND have a simply joyful year in my circumstances.  And yet, slowly, ever so slowly, I am seeing how God is answering that prayer.  Yes, I am finding more joy in Jesus.  It’s the deep kind of joy that resounds and reverberates within the walls of sorrow and suffering. And it’s a joy that’s coming IN my circumstances (just not the ones I thought it would come in).  I’m learning what it means, to like Paul, be experiencing an abundance of sorrow and yet still always be rejoicing.   Does knowing Jesus cause my heart to burst with such joy that I can still rejoice even in the most sorrowful of seasons?  I think I’m beginning, just beginning to know Jesus like that.  I pray that I would have the kind of joy “that would be so salty, so bright.  So bright that it would look like the glory of God on the earth.”  The kind of joy that would not just be for me, but for the world to see the one who brings me that kind of joy.  This is the joy that God is beginning to give me a taste of, beginning to write on my heart.  The kind of joy that declares, even in the darkest moments,

Jesus is my greatest joy.   He is my greatest treasure.

“His oath.  His covenant.  His blood.

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way.  

He then is all my hope and stay.”   

-from the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less”

“Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”

Questions for reflection:

1. Who is the only one that can bring us the kind of joy that can happen in the midst of sorrow?  Why?

2.  In what ways have you seen yourself rejoicing in the midst of sorrow because of Jesus?

3.  Pray that God would begin to cultivate in you the kind of joy that is “invincible”.

Tomorrow’s Passage (Day 14):  

David in Psalm 34

Day 16… Home.

2 Corinthians 5: 1-10

Today was a harder day.  I was exhausted most of the day and tiredness usually leads to days where the sadness just hits harder.  So, I found myself thinking of home.  Not my home here, but my home there.  And oh how I long and groan to be at home with the Lord.  Death has a way of awakening the groan, awakening the longing for our true home.

I laid down on our couch, trying to take a little nap, and of course Dasah decided it was time for her daily kickboxing class (I wish she’d consult me first about her class schedule).  So, I put my hand on my belly, foregoing any attempt at sleep to simply cherish these moments of resting with my little girl in our earthly home, our earthly bodies, desperately praying that I’ll get more time with her here in this earthly body.  And I thought of Sophie, her earthly home destroyed… she, away from her body but at home with the Lord, having put on her heavenly dwelling.   Soon, half our little family may be at home with the Lord and here, Kevin and I will be,  still in our earthly tents awaiting, all the more eagerly the day when we too will be absent from our bodies and at home with the Lord.

IMG_3975

Yet, the hope.  The hope is that though our bodies may be destroyed here, it just means we’ll be alive there… “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4).

With the Lord… eternally HOME.

IMG_3695 (1)

The word “Home” decorates our dining room and I feel a little prick every time I see it.  It just doesn’t tell the full story.  So I keep wanting to add a couple small words to the beginning and the end…

Our

HOME

is heaven.

Our home is not here.   As much as I want to make this home of ours a refuge, decorating all the little spaces, making it ours with the memories and people that fill it, it will never be truly home.  One, because it’s a rental.  Two, because Sophie, our firstborn is not here and that creates a void.  Three, because this home was never intended to be my HOME.

Like Abraham and countless other men and women of the faith, we are sojourners in a strange land.  We are looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11: 10).  This isn’t our home.  And for a believer, part of the beauty that comes out of loss, displacement, loneliness is the deep longing for our true home.  We may not realize in those moments that is what is being awakened, what our soul is actually burdened for,  groaning for, longing for, but it’s happening.  And it’s happening for us in this season of great loss and uncertainty.  I do not wish our story on anyone.  BUT, I do wish that in our western culture we would stop allowing the pursuit of pleasure, ease, comfort (the “american dream”) to keep our longings for building a home here hot and our longings for our home in heaven cold.  Yes, I wish that more believers in our western culture would experience the stripping of the things that keep us attached to this world.

We are too attached to this world.

I am too attached to this world.

 So I pray that we would truly experience the longing for our heavenly home in the way Paul speaks of, whatever it takes.  That we would have such perspective, that we too would be of good courage BECAUSE we walk by faith and not by sight. Faith that one day, we too will be at home with the Lord.  SO, even though we would rather be at home with the Lord, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.  That our focus on eternity would affect more deeply the way we live, the things we value here, and the ONE we choose to honor with our lives.

Home is not how our western culture defines it.

And Home, as God defines it, is much more, so much more than what our hearts can comprehend.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What is the “tent” or “earthly home” that Paul is referring too?

2.  Why is there hope even if that tent is destroyed?

3.  Do you long more to be at home in the body, or at home with the Lord?

4.  Where are you making your home?

Tomorrow’s Passage (Day 15)

2 Corinthians 5: 11-6:18

Day 19, 18 & 17… So we DO NOT lose heart.

2 Corinthians 4

The past few days I’ve had some honest conversations with the Lord.  What does it really mean to not lose heart in this season of so much loss, so much pain?  As our c-section quickly approaches (17 days away)… everything just feels heavy.  I have been wrestling with this chapter in 2 Corinthians, going back and reading the first 3 chapters, letting Paul’s own story and his words of hope and what it means that our hope is found in Jesus sink more fully into my own heart.  Doing some “thought” training…. re-training my mind to recognize when I’m more fixed on things that are temporal and not on eternal things.   Thinking of Jesus more and what He’s done for me on the cross.  Being a little more “transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2).  And being honest, brutally honest with the Lord in the midst of my questions, fears and emotions.   And He has met me in some very real ways.  And today, this is what spilled out as I sat down to write what God has been writing on my heart in this passage…

We do not lose heart because the

GLORY of God is being revealed IN our lives and THROUGH our lives.

We do not lose heart because

THOUGH we are dying daily to the things of this world we cherish more than Jesus, He is becoming MORE POWERFUL IN us.

IN our weakness

IN our distress

IN our grief

IN our pain

IN our loneliness

IN our loss.

THOUGH everything in us seems to be WASTING away,

our INNER NATURE. The SOUL.

The very part of us that matters MOST is being RENEWED.

DAILY

MOMENT by MOMENT.

RENEWED in

COURAGE that comes from Jesus

HOPE that’s founded in eternity

STRENGTH that could only come from the very POWER that raised JESUS from the dead.

Oh, you may not SEE it happening in you,

You may not FEEL it coming out of you.

BUT

HE is doing a work IN you.

In your DARKEST moments.

A work that is preparing for YOU

an ETERNAL weight of GLORY

BEYOND ALL COMPARISON

as we LOOK to Jesus,

as we LOOK to the hope of heaven,

as we LOOK to the power of His death

that we can comprehend more fully the reality of His LIFE in us.

He IS DOING SOMETHING.

We have THIS treasure in

jars of clay…

in these BROKEN and WEAK bodies

SO THAT

JESUS

and HIS power

can be seen through us and in us.

Through our very pain and brokenness..

the LIFE and LIGHT that Jesus is bringing INTO the darkness,

is SHOUTING to a watching world that

THERE IS HOPE beyond the grave

THERE IS REDEMPTION of all things

THERE IS A SAVIOR

and His name is JESUS

and HE is worth our lives.

SO

WE DO NOT LOSE HEART

not because of the circumstances of this life that makes us faint and weary and discouraged,

BUT

because of the ONE

who has walked this earth

paid for our sins

to give us LIFE

LIFE NOW

and

FOR ETERNITY

to redeem ALL THINGS broken

ALL THINGS lost

Yes… we DO NOT LOSE HEART

because of JESUS.

Oh that my eyes would look at my circumstances through the lens of Jesus first today.

Questions for Reflection:

1.  In light of this passage.. Ask yourself in the midst of your circumstances “Why can I not lose heart today?”

2.  As you listen to the song below and hear the story behind it, ask yourself “How can it be well with my soul in any and all circumstances?”

3.  Ask the Lord to give you a greater vision of the cross, a greater joy in Him.

Tomorrow’s passage (Day 16)

I’m going to work my way through a few more chapters in 2 Corinthians and will be in 2 Corinthians 5 tomorrow (I would encourage you to read the first 3 chapters as well for a little background!)

*Disclaimer:  Clearly my 40 day DAILY devotional was a bit ambitious… and though my goal is to post daily sometimes I just need a little more time to process the passages I’ve chosen before putting anything to words.  My hope is that for those following along you’re finding some of these passages just too rich as well.  If I haven’t posted anything then I’m still working through the latest passage I’ve listed and hope you’re enjoying doing that as well as we all search for hidden treasures together!

Some recent sweet memories we’ve made with Dasah

went to the coke machine and this one came out! I know, I know… one of my guilty pleasures… don’t judge!

Kevin and I went on our first wine and canvas date (no wine for me! :) ) and painted this!   We hid Sophie and Dasah’s initials in the painting too!

Day 21 & 20… Losing heart and adjusting my gaze.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I spent some time yesterday and today unpacking 2 Corinthians 4 and still have thoughts that are stirring in my heart that haven’t quite hit words on my lips yet.   So, again, today will be short and sweet.  I looked up what the original greek meant for the word used for “lose heart” in vs. 16 and it is a verb that means:  become discouraged, to be weary, to lose courage, faint.   Instantly as I read those words my heart screamed “but i  FEEL all these things”.  I feel discourage, I feel weary, I feel I’ve lost courage, that my heart is faint within me.  AND YET, Paul, in the midst of all the affliction they are facing (v.8 “We are afflicted in every way), and the perspective he has on Jesus he says “SO we DO NOT lose heart”.   How?  How do we not lose heart when life’s circumstances and the sorrows of our heart seem to take a hold of our lives in a way that affects so many areas?  Paul goes on to say a lot of other good things (that i may unpack later), but then says “As we LOOK NOT to the things that are seen, but to the things that are UNSEEN.”    How do we NOT LOSE heart?  We re-adjust our gaze.  We think about where we are looking.  Am I looking at things that are seen and temporal or things that are unseen and eternal?  It is far too easy in seasons of discouragement, disappointment and heartache to fix our gaze on the temporal instead of lift our eyes to the eternal.  Today, I’m thinking about what that even means.  I’m thinking about what ways I fix my eyes on things that are seen and what it looks like to re-adjust my gaze to things that are unseen.  And I’m asking the Lord to help me.  To help me see where my eyes need to re-adjust where I’m looking.

And those are the little treasures I’m going to leave you with today.  I have much more unpacking of this passage to do as I let God’s word sink more deeply into my heart and re-align my thoughts and gaze so I’m going to stay in this passage for at least another day or two… and would love for you to stay in it with me.

Questions for Reflection: 

1.  Where have I lost heart?

2. Where am I looking?

3. Where are my eyes fixed today?

4.  What enabled Paul to say “So we do not lose heart”?

Passage for tomorrow (Day 19)

2 Corinthians 4

Something to watch/listen to to stir your hearts.  It’s the first song Kevin and I listened to after we found out Dasah’s diagnosis and I keep coming back to it… not just the songs, but the words that are spoken in the middle.   Let it sink in.

Day 23 & 22… My exceeding joy.

Day 23 & 22

Psalm 43

I hesitate to write tonight because  1. I want everyone to read what my husband, Kevin wrote on hope on day 24 and just sit on those thoughts as I am (so if you haven’t read that, just don’t read any further and go read his post!) and 2. My brain has been like mush the past few nights.  So, I guess we’ll just see what comes out.   It will be simple tonight.   As I read Psalm 42 a few days ago and spent time thinking of what we’ve been learning and asking God to teach us about hope, I continued on to Psalm 43.  Many would say that these Psalms really are together as there are many similarities in them.   David continues to cry out to the Lord, and yet in the midst of his wondering where God is, he still declares him, his “exceeding joy”.  And I just had to stop and think about that for a while.  In the midst of his despair, his turmoil, still he longs to as he says:  “go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.”  David knew his God and I continue to be struck by that as I look at my own life and long to know the Lord in the way that David knew him.  So, yesterday, in the midst of my own turmoil, I went to my own altar of sorts.  What would it look like to take time to just offer to the Lord my praise in the midst of all my questions of where he is in this, and what he’s doing.  The altar for me, the place where I just met with Jesus was in the bathroom getting ready for the day, and then in the car.   And there I worshipped.   I lifted my hands and I sang songs of praise to the Lord until I meant the words I was saying.  And in those moments my eyes faded from my circumstances and all I saw was Jesus.  And the joy that was present in my heart was a sweet, sweet reminder of what it looks like to tell my soul as David did “hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”  Not in a self-help type of “pick up your bootstraps” (what does that even mean?) and just do it way.  But in a way where we are speaking God’s truth to our hearts even when we don’t feel it, when it feels impossible to believe.   To take our sorrow, and our disappointment and continue to place it in the Lord’s hand and still worship him for who he is and not what he does.  He IS my exceeding joy and God is teaching me what that means the more I press into him.  More thoughts on this tomorrow, when hopefully my brain is less mushy!

Questions for Reflection:

1. Is God your exceeding joy?

2.  What would it look like for you to “go to the altar” and bring God praise in the midst of the losses and disappointments you may still be wrestling with, with him?

Tomorrow’s Passage:

Paul in 2 Corinthians 4

Day 24… Hope

If I was writing a story for a great movie, the last 2 years is not the story I would write for us.  What I long for—and what I’m drawn to in great movies and books—is that ultimate redemption that comes in the midst of great tragedy.  Epic stories all have great tragedy.  The moment when all seems to be lost and has gone hopelessly astray.  Where we yearn for justice to come, good to prevail, and life to be set right again.  I feel it when I watch Lord of the Rings and orks are overtaking the armies of good and Frodo and Sam are on the verge of giving up.  Or a massive alien being is overtaking the city of New York and it all seems to be too much for the Avengers to turn the tide.  My heart brews with anger as I read of Joseph being betrayed by his brothers, thrown into slavery, and unjustly locked into prison.  Or Jesus walking to his death with a cross on his shoulders after years of nothing but bringing life to the world.  But what makes all of these stories great is that our longing is finally met.  Restoration comes.  Good prevails.  The world is set right again.

But what if the movie ended and we didn’t get to see redemption?  What if the story continues but we still find ourselves at a place where the world around us is not as it was meant to be, and yet the immediate pages ahead of us remain unknown with no promise that they will hold restoration that makes even the great tragedy understandable?  It’s not the story I would write.  In fact, it can feel like a story that shouldn’t or couldn’t be written because it doesn’t match up with the built-in longings of our heart for redemption.  It doesn’t seem to match up with our God who redeems.  When we see such a story around us or find ourselves in the middle of it, we can try to explain it away, or ignore it, or convince ourselves that something better is just around the corner.  But what if the story is exactly how it was intended to be, and the Author has written it that way?  What then?

When we found out about Sophie’s diagnosis well over a year ago, it was absolutely devastating but neither Lindsey or I ever wrestled much with the “why” questions of God.  Honestly years of wrestling with singleness before Lindsey and I met had forced me (after much wrestling and grief) to come more face to face with the fact that God was sovereign and good, his plans were the very best for me, and his character and these truths were not altered by my circumstances.  I did not understand why our first daughter had anencephaly, but honestly the need to understand wasn’t heavy on my heart.  While we were in deep grief and sorrow throughout our pregnancy with Sophie and in the months after her birth, there was a continual hope at the root of both the joyful and sorrowful days.

I still believe that much of that hope was directly from God as he used his Holy Spirit to sustain and guide us.  But I also see now that some of that hope was not a hope in who God was, but a hope in what God would DO, a hope in what our hopeful circumstances would be in the future.  I would have done just about anything to enable my daughter Sophie to remain on this Earth alive and fully well with us.  But knowing I had little control over that—and that was hard as a father to be limited in my ability to protect my daughter—I had hope that while Sophie would be in Heaven under God’s perfect love and care, God would enable us to have more children to remain here on Earth with us.  It wasn’t until the days that followed Dasah’s diagnosis back in May that this hope in our hoped-for future came crashing down, and I began to realize where some of my hope—that I thought was in God—was actually being planted.  In the midst of this, the questions of “why?!!” and wanting to understand what in the world God was doing were now far more important than they ever were with Sophie.

In the days that followed, the first passage I found God leading me to was Psalm 42:5, which says,

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God.”

As I read over it again and again, I knew why my soul was cast down.  There was no question about that.  But I was struck anew by the command to “hope in God”.  I was realizing I really didn’t know what that meant.  What does it look like to truly find my hope in God alone?  Not hope in what I think he will do, or how I think he will benefit me.  But to simply have hope in who He is.  At a time when I needed hope, it did not seem like an ideal time to see my foundation of hope being changed. So we began to pray—and have been praying every day since—that God would teach us what it means for our hope, joy, and faith to be firmly planted in who He is, and not what we hope he will do.

Over the summer, Lindsey and I began reading Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering (the best comprehensive book I have read on grief founded in the Bible…I highly recommend it to everyone regardless of whether you are or have ever experienced deep grief).  There are so many things I could highlight from the book.  But one portion struck deeply on how I viewed God.

In the book, Keller recaps Elisabeth Elliot’s novel No Graven Image that she released in the late 1960’s.  The book tells the fictional story of a missionary woman who spends years preparing and then moving to a tribe in Ecuador to translate the Bible into their native language.  She builds a relationship with the one man in the tribe who has the language abilities to help her translate the Bible into their language.  But when the man becomes ill and the missionary unknowingly gives him medicine that he is allergic to, the man dies.  Devastated, the missionary returns home because there is no other person in the tribe that can unlock the language for a Bible translation to be done.  God closes the door for the Bible translation.  When the book was released it got tremendous push-back from Christians who, as Keller says, “protested vehemently that God would never allow such a thing to happen to a woman who had so prayerfully dedicated her life to his cause.”

But Keller got to hear Elisabeth Elliot explain the book in a lecture she gave at the seminary he attended.

“She went on to explain to us that the graven image, the idol of the title, was a God who always acted the way we thought he should.  Or more to the point—he was a God who supported our plans, how we thought the world and history should go.  That is a God of our own creation, a counterfeit god.  Such a god is really just a projection of our own wisdom, of our own self.  In that way of operating, God is our ‘accomplice,’ someone to whom we relate as long as he is doing what we want.  If he does something else, we want to ‘fire’ him, or ‘unfriend him,’ as we would any personal assistant or acquaintance who was insubordinate or incompetent.”

As I read this, it struck a deep cord.  This was at the heart of my wrestling with God since Dasah’s diagnosis.  As we had walked with Sophie, I had great hope that God would heal our daughter, but I knew that God was God (and I was not) and it was up to him and according to his bigger, sovereign plans if Sophie would be healed.  I had peace in His sovereignty regardless of what He chose.  But, I also had great hope that God would give us more children in the future that would be fully healthy and remain on this Earth with us for decades to come.  And while I had never articulated it in words—even to myself—I believed God would never have us walk through the same grievous journey with any of our other children.  How could He?!!  That would not be the redemption and silver lining that I was longing for, hoping for…and not just hoping for, but hoping in.  In my mind, my hope was of course in God, but more specifically in what God would do…that he would give us future healthy children that we would get to parent and watch grow up.

And so when we discovered our second daughter was also diagnosed with a terminal condition, it felt even more devastating and heavy than Sophie’s diagnosis.  This wasn’t how the story was supposed to go!  How could our God of redemption and restoration write a story like this?!  I was now questioning how to find hope in God because he hadn’t come through as I was certain he would.  And as I read this portion of Keller’s book, God began to give me a deeper look at where my hope “in Him” truly was.  Not in Him, but in what I thought he should or would do.  I was at a loss.  So I began to pray he would teach me and enable me to have hope securely in who he is, and not in my current or future hoped-for circumstances.

Months have gone by, and while I haven’t often felt this deep intimacy with God, he has been showing me much about Him and myself and the brokenness of our world.  And I’ve kept praying he would teach me to truly hope in Him, not knowing what that really looked like.  Then a few weeks ago I got to pull away from the busyness of life and spend a day with God.  I journaled, read, talked with God, and got to listen to him.  And as I was driving home, seemingly out of nowhere, it suddenly hit me.  Over these months God has been teaching me what it looked like to hope in Him…and I didn’t even realize it.  I didn’t realize it largely because I was looking for a “hopeful” feeling.  A comforting sort of warmth inside my heart (my wife could probably do a much better job putting words to these emotions!).  But God was teaching me not about a comforting feeling but to know Him, to know his character, and in knowing Him to trust Him more.  I know that he is good.  I know that he is loving, and that he loves me, and Lindsey, and Sophie, and Dasah more than I even have the capacity to understand.  I know he is righteous.  I know he is powerful.  I know he knows all things, knows the much bigger story on an eternal scale, and he is in total control of this story…his story.  I can thus trust him with the life of my daughters and my wife and my own life…I can trust him with the story of our family.  And as I get to know more and more the One who I am trusting in these things, I have great hope.

A book I’m reading right now is When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One by David & Nancy Guthrie (a great practical book if you have lost a loved one or want to know how to help someone who has).  In it, Nancy Guthrie shares, “The truth is, we’re often more interested in getting what God’s got—not getting more of God…But God knows exactly what we need, and His purposes are grander than giving us what we want. He’s doing something deeper.” -pp. 57-58

I see this in me.  As I get glimpses of what it looks like to truly hope in God, I still often just want God to give me what I want.  I want to be god instead of trusting God.  But when I step back from my immediate feelings and momentary circumstances, I really do believe God’s much bigger story is so much better.  It’s a story that is eternal (and not just about the immediate pages ahead that I can’t see).  It’s a story centered not on me, or my family, but on Him because He is the one that all were designed to know and to be fulfilled in knowing Him.  It’s a story of deep sadness, deep heartache, and also deep joy (and not just for us, but God also).  It’s a story of greater redemption on an eternal scale. But finally, Romans 8:32 reminds us, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  Because of God sending Jesus to live, suffer, and die alongside us and for us, this story God is writing in our family is a story of hope.  Our great God is not withholding anything from us so that we might suffer.  Our God has given everything—even the life of his only son—so that we can know Him, now and for eternity.  In Him and simply who he is, I’m learning to find great hope.

Day 25… The God who goes down with us and brings us up.

Genesis 46-50

“I am God, the God of your father.  Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again.” Genesis 46:3-4

A gentle reminder for my heart as the coming weeks seem so daunting.  The anticipation of meeting Dasah and knowing goodbyes may come all too soon are overwhelming.  And most days just thinking of that makes my heart grow faint.

“When my spirit grows faith within me, you know my way.” Psalm 142:3

Yes, He knows my way.  As He knew the way of Joseph, Jacob, David… He not only knows but goes with us.   Had Jacob known what was coming for his people, I doubt he would have gone down (Exodus 1:8-14).  And yet, all he needed to know was the promise.  The promise in that moment that God Himself would go down with him (Jacob) and that He would also bring him up.  The promise was for Jacob, and the promise was for his people.   The years Jacob and his people would be in Egypt and what would become of them were not known.  But what was known was God’s presence and His promise.   And that’s all they needed to follow God.  Is that all I need today to follow God today?  Is that all you need today to follow God?  Is the promise of His presence, which is just as true as it was for Jacob and Joseph as it is for me, enough?  I find myself wanting to know how the coming weeks will unfold.  I want to know if Dasah will be born alive, if she’ll live for days and we’ll get to bring her home.  I want to know if I’ll come home once again with empty arms, or if God will perform a miracle of healing unlike any we’ve ever seen.  I want to know how He’ll produce peace and joy in our hearts if we have to say goodbye and how He will sustain us if we find ourselves again standing at the gravesite of another daughter.  These uncertainties, fears, hopes and longings fill my mind and heart often unexpectedly and I confess I dwell on them too long many times instead of entrusting them to the Lord.  I try to make sense of what’s to come and how I will respond instead of trusting that the Lord goes with me, with us, and that’s all I really need to know right now.   And if the worst comes, not only does He go down with us, but He will also bring us up.  If even more intense grief, sorrow and loss is to be a part of our journey a little over 3 weeks from now our God will meet us in it and He will bring us up out of it.  In the midst of the grief that still resides in my heart in the loss of Sophie, I have watched Him sustain us in the midst of our sorrow and lift up our hearts ever so slowly as time has gone on.  And I am reminded of that today. That I serve a God who goes with us, to the depths of our pain, meeting us there and slowly ever so slowly planting seeds of new life.   May I trust in that truth today when my mind and heart is tempted to wander to all the “what if’s” and how will i ever walk through what’s coming.   He is with us.  He is with Kevin.  He is with Dasah.  And we are very much not alone.

Question for reflection:

1. Is His presence enough for you today? Why or why not?

Tomorrow’s Passage (Day 24)

David in Psalm 42… My husband, Kevin will be writing on what it means to HOPE in who God is and not what He does.   Get excited, I know I am!