We were up at 5:30 this morning, as usual. Ezra nursed groggily, I dressed him in warm overalls and a funny ear-flap hat, and loaded him into the car to take Steven to work. As we pulled up to the building, a felt a deep and aching pit in my stomach. Steven has a cold, but is going to work this morning because it isn’t “that bad.” That, and my husband would die to provide for us–a warm and lovely home, three square meals a day, clothes on our backs, and the chance for me to stay home with our baby. So he goes to work every morning, and it takes quite a force to stop him.
There is so much back-stabbing, so much corruption, so much injustice that goes on at Steven’s work. It’s depressing. He has applied for numerous jobs in numerous places, but the Lord has shut the door soundly. He has kept us in this town, kept Steven working in this place since before we got married. So as we pulled up to his work, dropped him off, and I felt that familiar pit, I started to pray one of those desperate prayers.
God, do you remember us? I am trying to be thankful. I know I am blessed, but look at my husband. Do you see him? Why are you not moving on our behalf? Why are you closing all these doors? Why are you keeping him in this place?
A very present silence met my aching prayer. Like God was sitting in the car with His lips zipped. It’s a prayer I’ve prayed many a morning of watching my broad-shouldered and burdened husband walk through those doors. So I resolved to think of all of my blessings. I have a roof over my head. I have a supportive and understanding family. I have a healthy little boy. I have…
It did not make me feel better.
Though I have, I also lack. It is part of living in a broken world, no matter what circumstances one finds themselves. Whether in a prosperous or third world country, whether healthy or sick, whether happy or sad, we yearn for wholeness. No matter how many “blessings” I count, I cannot count enough to stop the ache this morning because what I want most of all, to see my husband be raised up above his enemies, is the thing I cannot have today.
I came upon a song this morning, “When the sun starts to rise, and I open my eyes, You are good. In the heat of the day, with each stone that I lay, You are so good… When the road starts to turn around each bend, I’ve learned, You are good. So good…”
And it is in this truth that I find peace this morning. He is so good. And it is beyond our circumstances and beyond counting our tangible blessings that we see His goodness. I have often prayed, Lord, if You are so powerful, if You are so perfect, then why can’t You change things for me? In response, I have heard in that still, small voice,
Bringing You to perfection is something I will do in My time. For now, I want to come to you where you are at.
I love that He is the God, the only God, who builds a bridge to us, sent the Christ, rather than expecting us to build a bridge to Him. He spans the chasm. And He comes to us in our lack, in our grief, in our yearning, and He brings us to eternity.
So here He is, with me, this morning. I cannot put my hands on any idol, any comfortable circumstance, any dollar amount, any job offer, any material gain, that is as good as my God. I know it best when I contemplate Scripture, truths that have sustained the Saints of generations and generations before me. It is a peace that beyond my God-given ability to capture words and line them up, beyond my ability to fully understand. So, back to laundry, back to sewing, back to cuddling Ezra, back to aching for Steven… with the treasure that is Christ, Emmanuel God with us, tucked away in my soul. The Lord hears when I call to Him.
From Steven’s and my reading this morning:
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.
6 Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.