I’ve never had to wonder where my next feed would come from. For as long as I can remember the low growls of hunger have been quickly satiated by a stocked refrigerator and pantry brimming with snacks. Hunger is not a pain I have felt acutely, except for when I wait too long to eat or am too busy (or lazy) to walk the five feet to the endless supply of food to meet my needs.
In a recent article at The Gospel Coalition, I wrote about Mary’s coming pain in the wake of Christ’s birth. Motherhood is filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and she was not exempt from such emotions. With the joy of her newborn baby’s birth came the dark shadow of his foretold death. She felt the sting of motherhood acutely throughout his adult life, and as she stood at his cross and watched him gasp for breath.
On September 29 the baby we lost earlier this year was due. Due dates are always hard when there is no baby coming. They are a reminder of what could have been. They are a reminder of a pregnancy that didn't make it to term. They are a reminder of empty arms. I've faced three due dates now with no baby inside of me. One was because the twins were born eight weeks before my due date.
I've struggled with fear and anxiety all of my Christian life. In many ways it seems that when I conquer one fear, another one is lurking in the shadows. Fear is my constant enemy. I've often thought that the constant refrain of my soul is "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!" This is my heart's cry as I seek daily to do battle with my ever present fears.
This has been our prayer as we wait for the boys to come home. God has faithfully answered our prayers when we have been in distress before, and we have confidence that he will do it again. It's not our own strength that makes the desired relief possible, but the strength of his character and his righteousness. Left to ourselves we cannot do anything, but God is powerful enough not only to bring our boys home, but to conform us more into his likeness while we wait.
For most of my Christian life I have always seen Elijah as this stalwart of the Christian faith. He stood against the ungodly, heralded truth when it was unpopular, and lived much of his life alone because of his work ministering to an idolatrous people. He certainly was a man who loved God and wanted God's people to love him too. Even his life ended in a spectacular scene with chariots of fire coming down from heaven whisking him away to glory (2 Kings 2:11-12).
"Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted with grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing." - Psalm 31:9-10
Every morning I stare at a picture on my bedroom wall that has a silhouette of an unborn baby. In the picture the baby is held in the palm of God's hands. Underneath the picture is this verse:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." - Jeremiah 1:5
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." - Psalm 46:1-3