Our first several years of marriage were pretty much free of serious hardship – oh, things happened that we thought were difficult but the first real challenge? That would be the birth of our Little Sparrow.
Few aspirations match the hopes parents have for a soon-to-be born child. We were no exception. Even though this child would bring the running total to five, we were eager to see who this unique little creation of God would be . . . and then a flurry of medical gowns and Lisa was hastily prepped for an emergency C Section.
Everything’s okay, isn’t it? . . . Just like the first four . . . Why would anything be different this time?
How do you cope when the Dr. tells you your new baby is severely brain-damaged and is, in so many words, a vegetable? I kept it together while he was there but could feel a growing fire in my chest, as if the sinews of my heart were being ripped apart.
Daddy wants to protect.
Daddy wants to fight.
But, there’s not one thing Daddy can do to stop what was happening . . . what had already happened.
When the door clicked shut behind the good Dr., I turned to Lisa – my lover, my friend, and oh, how we cried.
In one moment all the hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a new little life, for our little girl, vanished.
Have you been there, too? Or maybe you’re living there right now – searching for understanding and the strength to carry on in the face of deepest sorrow, or a bitter challenge.
In times like these, we need to remember Job’s life and response to God . . . God listened but then powerfully reminded him that He, alone, is sovereign God, almighty – in the stillness and in the storm.
God knows every detail about you including the worst thing you are facing right now. The book of Job gives us a “peek behind the curtain.” Satan is at work in every trauma, trouble, and trial we face – but so is God.
There’s a line in an old hymn I love that goes like this: He will sanctify to you your deepest distress. You see, God never gives you the grace for someone else’s trials but He always gives you the grace for what He calls you to walk through.
Will you receive it?
He will take that trial your Enemy meant as dark and dirty and sanctify it – literally make it clean – if you trust and yield to His light in the midst of your troubles.
In that hospital room, I knelt (fell to my knees) beside the bed, desperately grasping Lisa’s hand . . .
“Oh God, I don’t understand why our little girl has to be hurt like this . . . it makes no sense to me . . .
but I still trust you . . .
we still believe that you are good, even though we don’t see or understand.”
Then we cried a lot more.
Our faith is only real if it can weather the storm. In the midst of the storm, God calls us to believe the Truth – that He will never leave us or forsake us. Matthew 28:20 says ” . . . I am with you alway . . .”
Circumstances often make us feel that this isn’t the case, that we’re on our own, but facts don’t change regardless of how we feel. God is with us.
He is there, in your deepest struggle. Do we truly believe what we’ve been telling everyone we believe? Do we believe that God is good in the shadows of life, or only in the sunshine?
But, don’t get the wrong idea. From time to time, I still get emotional over what might have been. Sorry – maybe a super Christian would just forge ahead in total strength and conviction and smiles, but this Daddy? I have my moments.
Like the other day when some kids were visiting, running all over the yard and Little Sparrow leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “I wish I could run,” or when I’m at some event like we were, recently, where there’s a little country dancing and I see Little Sparrow in her wheel chair, her longing eyes watching the other kids laughing and playing . . . yeah, I still cry.
Little Sparrow’s heart was made for dancing, too.
It’s times like these that we have to remind ourselves we have a great hope, and hold fast to it. The Bible teaches that Little Sparrow is going to receive a new, redeemed body, like the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:23). We have a hope, and God is asking you in the midst of your trial to hold fast to the hope He has given through the promises in His word.
Romans 15:13 says, “Now the god of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
We don’t have to ‘go it alone’. For those who will trust Him and believe, He makes available the power of the Holy Spirit so even in the midst of trials, heartache, and trouble of every kind, we can abound in hope. That’s an encouraging thought and a powerful truth – if we allow the truth of God’s power and love to inform our hearts when the storm closes in.
God knows my precious little girl’s heart was made for dancing. He created her for His glory which is why following the The Great Marriage Supper of The Lamb, I’m thinking there’s going to be a big dance and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to stand in line to dance with Little Sparrow . . . just behind Jesus.
Welcome home Little Sparrow . . . may I have this dance?
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).