His six-month-old body was stretched out with his arms perpendicular to his sides and his pale, chubby legs extended into a wide V. His eyelids were swollen and red, circled by rings of darkness. Sweat had pasted his straight blond hair to his forehead. His small chest heaved with every breath.
As I watched him, passionate love poured through my fatigued heart. I longed to hold him and rock him and sing to him. I realized how precious this little treasure of a boy was to me. How l wished I could comfort him with life-giving words of hope, strength, and encouragement. How I wanted to pour life into his struggling body.
I wanted so much to have the chance to shepherd him through his life. I had books to read to him and birthdays to celebrate. He had milestones ahead, like walking, riding a bike, learning to swim, learning to read, and running after a ball—moments of life to share together. If only he could know how cherished, how beloved he was.
And yet, he lay there completely ignorant of all the love and affection and goodwill that was flowing from my mother's heart toward him. My heart broke into a weak but desperate plea to God for his life, for mercy for my sweet son, for healing from his grave illness. "Lord," I prayed in tears as I watched my baby, "let me know that You are here and that I am not alone. Please help me:'
In the first moments after I whispered that prayer and waited, the room seemed a dark abyss, utterly devoid of grace. I found I could barely swallow for the fear that had gripped my heart. But I waited, waited in the darkness, yearning for comfort. Gradually, slowly, the darkness of the room began to fade in my mind as I sensed just barely, that somehow, even in this despair, I was not alone.
Somehow, I knew in my heart that the Lord was truly with me and caring for my fragile heart. As I waited, as I yearned for His comfort, I began to be aware of answers filling my heart, of comfort coming into my soul in response to my cries. My mind was flooded with thoughts of the Lord, and I suddenly found myself in the midst of a picture of His love.
As I watched Joel, it was as if the Lord was saying that He felt the same way about me that I felt about my baby boy:
I love you as you love your son. I created My children to know My love. I wanted to be their companion, their loving Father shepherding them through the seasons of their lives. In the same way your heart reaches out to your precious son , so My heart longs to reach out to each of My children.
I love you. I am with you. I will never leave you.
Just open your eyes and turn to Me. My love for you is fervent and focused. Sin has created a separation, but l am still here, I will always be here, always reaching out to you in love. Even as you actively love Joel, though he is unconscious and unaware because of his grave illness, so I have loved My children, though their grave illness of sin and rebellion has created a temporary sense of separation from Me. Don't worry; trust Me. I will take care of Joel. I will take care of you.
That inconspicuous old room, reeking of antiseptic and medicine, whirring with the sounds of the oxygen machine and beeping monitor, became for me a holy place of truly sacred ground. Here, in this unlikely setting, I found my heart filled with worship and thanksgiving. The Lord had engineered, through the seemingly disjointed circumstances of my life, a private meeting with me so that I could understand His love more deeply. In the void of all the people upon whom I usually depended, in the midst of the chaos of the move, I was ushered into the presence of the one and only person who could help me and who loved me. I was brought face-to-face with the reality of God's love for me and God's love for my child. As my heart was filled with worship, I realized that God loved Joel more than any other person could. Joel was also God's child.
As the night passed I had plenty of time to ponder, and I began to realize that ultimately my children belong first and foremost to God. I am their mother by His design, but He is over all of their lives. I will never really be able to control the outcome or circum- stances of their lives no matter how hard I try.
God had designed Joel in my womb. He already knew the extent of Joel's days "when as yet there was not one of them" (Psalm 139:16). Joel's destiny is firmly in the hands of the God who loves Him, as is mine. The realization came to me that walking with God through motherhood meant understanding that I,too, am still simply God's child. All of the issues of my life—relationships, circumstances, victories, and tragedies, even motherhood—were only meaningful as they related to God and His purposes in my life.
He brought me into that little hospital room to be with Him, to know His love, to reflect more on eternity, to see things from His eyes. I thought it was all about my child and my need to provide for him, but really it was about God overwhelming both of us with His care and love. I realized that I was to walk before God in motherhood as I walked in the other areas of my life—with Him as the center of my life, with Him as my strength, with Him as my guide—but like the rest of my life, it was to be a walk of faith, not sight. (from The Mom Walk, available here!)
Do you ever forget that God is in control of your children's lives? That He has a plan for them? Does it help to be reminded that God loves you just as you love your own sweet ones, and that He will always walk with you? I hope you are encouraged today!