One of the biggest questions I have been wrestling with over the last two weeks is “What do I do now?” What do I do with my life? What do I do with the entire month of February when I had thought that I would be waiting for a baby, delivering a baby, loving on a baby in real and physical and tangible ways. I have loved Charlie every single day since I found out that the Lord had placed him in my womb, and I have loved him every single day since we found out that the Lord had taken him away. My love for Charlie and longing to love him as his mommy will never change. I have prayed for him, thought of him constantly, and cried deeply over the many moments of wonder and joy and life with our baby boy that will simply never be.
But there is a major paradigm shift that is yet to fully happen in my heart….the shift of grieving daily that the life I had wanted and planned on having will never be. I mean, who doesn’t definitely think they are going to bring home a baby when they are at 37 weeks? I don’t think it was unreasonable that we were expecting to live our lives with Charlie. I don’t think it was ridiculous that we had dreamed and thought of every moment of the next 50 years of life with Charlie in it. But, I also think that “reason” and “plans” and “dreams” are just words that we frail humans use to explain our “best guess” regarding our lives. I have been reminded through the almost incomprehensible suffering of the last two weeks that we absolutely do not know the sorrows and joys that God has planned for our days.
In these moments of wrestling with “How now shall I live?” the Lord has often brought Proverbs 16:9 to my mind: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” God doesn’t say it is wrong to plan your course, He just says that above all of our plans…He alone determines our steps. I’m really thankful that God uses the words “steps,” because right now that is very much how we are living…one very small baby step at a time.
I think it is easy to say that we trust in God’s Sovereignty. But I think that what we are really saying most of the time is “I trust you God that things will basically work out the way I had thought and hoped and dreamed, with a few (hopefully) small changes of course along the way.” And most days, for most of my life (and most of yours I dare say) that is how it has been. Certainly not everything has gone as planned, but all of those past “course changes” just haven’t really mattered that much to me. Most times in fact, the Lord has done something even better than I had planned on it being.
But now, we are in entirely uncharted territory. I truly believe that we will find joy, hope, peace as we continue on this journey. We’ve had moments of those already even through the worst two weeks of our lives. I truly believe that we will continue to see ways that we can trust God in fresh ways. I also really believe that we will continue to see ways that this was God’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will” for our and little Charlie’s lives. But…I am human. And of one thing I am certain…as a human, I will never get to a place that this is how I had wanted our story to be.
This will never be what I wanted for Charlie’s life. This will never be what I had wanted for mine. And I’m realizing that that is ok. I’m realizing that “acceptance” is never going to be saying, “Thank you God, I wanted what you chose for me!” I’m learning that what acceptance will be is saying, “Thank you God, I trust what you chose for me.”
And why? Because that is exactly what Jesus displayed for me, through his very human and very holy life. When the Lord Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane in his deepest hours of wrestling He did not say, “Father, I want this cup of suffering.” What Jesus did say, and what I cling to on these long dark days of suffering, is…
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
And that’s where I am camping today. On the promise that Jesus Himself, fully human and fully God-holy…did not want and did not like suffering. I like that about Jesus. I like it because its believable. He reminds me of me. But He also reminds me of something that is just so much bigger, and more holy, than anything in me. First, Jesus said, “I don’t like this Father. And then He finished with something better than anything you or I, in and of ourselves, could say. Jesus said, “Father, this is not what I want…but if it is Your will…I will take it. Your will…not Mine.” Jesus said this because He knew the heart of the One to whom He was speaking.
I am also struck hard by the reality that JESUS is saying these things. The Jesus who could have called down legions of angels and stopped His suffering at any moment of His life. I’ve never realized how strong Jesus was in this moment of such dark agony. We frail humans, we would gladly, longingly, call down legions of angels and change so many things…so many sorrowful and painful moments of life. But we can’t.
He could…and He didn’t.
I’ve never been so grateful for the price Jesus paid to give us life. This strong man of sorrows…who willingly acquainted Himself with grief.
And so, to Him I cling,