“The last two pregnancies I’ve prayed that if the babies weren’t healthy, that the Lord would just take them home to be with Him.”
It wasn’t a statement I really expected a response to. My husband is one of those who I can chatter to all night without taking a breath, and he may only nod his head a few times and add a one liner here and there. I figured he would just nod his head and carry on listening. It caught me off guard a little when he replied, “I’m not sure that is the right way to pray.”
I stopped short. What? Give me a break here, Hon. Our last two pregnancies ended in painful miscarriages. This is how I’m coping. God took our babies because they weren’t healthy and that is okay. I prayed that He would. It’s okay.
Peter’s statement thwarted my coping plan. It caught me off guard. Frankly, it made me mad. I had decided my prayer was answered and it was okay.
I wanted desperately to be mad at my husband for his words. But deep down in the recesses of my heart I knew what he was saying. I knew he was right and I knew at this moment God was using my husband to speak to me. But still somewhat shortly I replied, “What do you mean?”
He continued, “You never know what is required of us.”
I, for once in my life, didn’t say a word. I opened my mouth to argue, but I had no ground on which to stand and I knew it. I nodded quickly and continued my chore, silently. I’d been avoiding this very issue with God.
Later that evening we lay in bed talking. After two miscarriages you start to think of pregnancy differently. Fears and worries enter your thoughts where they weren’t before. Things can go wrong. They do. They did already- twice. What might another pregnancy be like? Some of our fears finally surfaced that night. What if we got pregnant again and had an unhealthy baby? What if our child was disabled, or handicapped physically or mentally, or both? What would life be like for us? How would it affect our other children? Peter was very honest. It wasn’t what he desired. He admitted to being selfish in his reasons why it wasn’t what he desired. I listened quietly and agreed with a few nods and “me toos”.
I kept thinking about what he had said earlier, it was replaying over and over in my head. “You never know what is required of us.” Although he was confessing his selfish nature I heard a resolve in his voice which accepted whatever might come. It didn’t seem to change our family planning in his mind. I, on the other hand, was not so willing.
The more I thought about it, the more resolute I became within to refuse such a “requirement”. Right as he was about to doze off to sleep I announced, “I don’t want that.” To which he replied, “Well, I don’t either, but like I said, you never know what is required of us.” I figured he didn’t hear me. I’d just proclaimed in my heart that I didn’t care what was required of me and then I spoke it boldly out loud. I meant it, that was it. No. The answer was no. I wasn’t willing.
Peter dozed off to sleep. I stared at the ceiling fan in our bedroom. I decided to tell God. With tears welling up in my eyes I meekly said “I won’t do it, I don’t want an unhealthy baby.” My rebellion ran deep – there are ways to keep from having babies, we just won’t have anymore. No more babies, no more chance of painful loss or sickness.
I began to weep. What was I saying? Was I actually telling God no? Since I was 19 I couldn’t remember a time when I had thought through an issue and blankly and decidedly refused Him, not even allowing Him the opportunity to work or teach me. This scared me. I began to confess my heart to Him. I wept through telling Him my fears, worries and anxieties and why I was telling Him no. The depth of ugliness in my heart swept over me. I told Him I was sorry. I asked Him to forgive me.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere I heard His still, small voice. I’ve heard people say that before. I’ve even said it before. But I can not recall a time in my life in which I experienced His voice quite so dramatically, yet so simply. This moment will be forever etched in my memory as life changing. I don’t usually hear God speak in this way. But ever so gently, yet so intently intimate He said, in that still, small voice, “Brooke – what if it’s for My glory?” Without even thinking I answered, “Of course that would be fine….” then it began to click, “Well, that would be okay.” Then suddenly it washed over me out of nowhere – the peace of God, the joy of His salvation. How could it be wrong if it was for His glory? It simply couldn’t. It would indeed be okay.
It would be more than that, it would be worth it. My mind was at rest. My Jesus had rescued me again. My fears turned in to somewhat of an expectancy thinking with astonishment of what the Lord might do with our lives – if we would just be willing. I thanked Him.
As I recollect this life changing experience in which literally the God of the universe spoke directly to me I found myself humming and singing a phrase from one of my favorite hymns.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
In a poem of comfort written to His dying mother in 1855, Joseph Scriven penned the words now known as the lyrics of What A Friend We Have in Jesus. Though the words were never intended to be published they’ve brought me much comfort over the years and they prove true again as I recollect this night with joy because I know God, creator of the universe as my personal Lord and Savior. How often we go through trials, hopelessly, without purpose, simply because we refuse His ways.
What if we looked up at the ceiling fan and surrendered to Him what fears and grieves us most in this life? Repenting the ugliness in us and asking to be made clean. What if I did everyday?
“For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 & 39)