A week after my son was born, it started. The inconsolable crying. Nothing seemed to help; no rocking, bouncing, swaddling, singing could soothe him. We came to the conclusion that, while otherwise healthy and thriving, our son was having a hard time adjusting to life outside the womb.
We’d read about a “fourth trimester” theory, when newborns need an extra three months of womb-like environment. (Of course, I don’t know if any woman would ever consent to another trimester of pregnancy!) The small, safe place that he knew his whole life was suddenly gone. My son was thrust into a world that was flailingly open and glaring and altogether too loud.
It took him several months to adjust, to calm, to acclimate. He is nearly a year old now and much happier. But his tears are just as big. Yesterday he hit his head on the underside of a dining chair while crawling around. Wailing in my arms, he stared over his shoulder at the object of pain with a look of betrayal. In bitter confusion over the injustice of it all. Why did this happen to me? his look said.
My son’s reactions remind me of my own heart. I see the injustice in the world, the danger, the darkness. It overwhelms. I want to scoop up my family and crawl into a safe place. Protect us, God, I plead. Keep us safe, I pray.
I have cried the same types of tears many times in my life, over big griefs and small ones. Why did I have to grow up without a mom? Why are things not as I planned? Why is there conflict with this person? Why do I struggle with that sin? Why is the checkout line sooooo long? Why me?
In my most selfish of hearts, I want to be exempt from suffering. I want to live an ordinary, comfortable life while not rocking the boat. I am a people-pleaser. I don’t want to have the hard conversations or stand out in a crowd. But I am a follower of Christ. God is challenging my view of what I think life should look like.
Over and over in these situations, I find my discontent is the hardest to shake when I refuse or forget to look to Christ. So obsessed with my own self, my vision is filtered through the eyes of the world. In my sinful state, I expect comfort and convenience. I expect earthly rewards and recognition. These are not the promises of the Bible, though. In fact, quite the opposite. I need to look to His promises. I need to fix my eyes on Christ.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35,37
God did not promise a safe and leisurely life. There will be seasons when we grieve, and seasons when we flourish, and seasons when we ail. Do not be surprised. Keep rejoicing. By the world’s standards, it might look like we’re failing. But Christ has already conquered! Let your light shine for God’s glory.
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