Let me explain what I mean.
Nine days ago, my dad had a major heart scare and had to have a stent put in place. We were in the hospital for several days and I will never forget one specific moment with him.
I was laying on the hospital bed with him, scratching his head, trying to help him get some rest (he had slept a total of forty-five whopping minutes throughout the past 48 hours). We were listening to worship music and I could hear the heart monitor beeping and looked down at our feet, my dad’s feet covered in his bright yellow socks with stickies on the bottom so he didn’t slip on the hospital floor.
My heart turned a few flips and felt like it was in my stomach as tears started streaming from my eyes. I think I had just held it in up until this point, trying to remain strong and help my parents in whatever way I knew how, which didn’t feel like much honestly.
I kept saying “Thank you, Jesus. Thank You. Thank You.”
And as I lay there and the song, “Good, good Father” started to play, Jesus asked my heart a very sobering question: “Cleere, would you still think I’m a good, good Father if I brought Him home to me instead of letting you take him home?”
I dodged the question at first as it hit the deepest part of my heart, the part where my fear of losing him had resided and all was brought to light on the day it happened.
The reality of how frail we are and the truth that this life is all grace became so real to me that day.
Jesus’ question to me was very simple and it all boils down to this- Do you simply praise Me because you received your desired outcome or do you praise Me because I am a good, good Father regardless of your circumstances?
I hope I could say that my heart would remain steadfast and I would press in if such ever did occur, but isn’t it so hard? To surrender our thoughts, trusting that His are higher? To believe He hears the cries of our hearts even when we feel the waves crashing and life feels chaotic?
I have told myself over and over, I have written the words over and over and I have verbally stated so many times that “Life is fragile” and that “The world is in His hands”.
But in the hospital room that Saturday, I felt His sovereignty. Of course, my heart was more than overjoyed- I don’t even have an adjective to describe my emotions actually upon seeing my father laying there, still breathing, smiling back at me and saying “I’m okay, sweetheart”.
I honestly felt like a fish out of water, like it was a nightmare that I would eventually wake up and be wrapped up in my sheets.
But this was reality and for the first time, I felt my humbled heart truly understand the meaning of “Life is a vapor”. Here today, gone tomorrow. Our security can never rest in our circumstances because they can be ripped from us or altered at any moment.
This should not ignite fear in us, but rather instill in us a great humility that is rooted in deep gratitude.
Deep gratitude for life on earth, shall He keep us here. Or deep gratitude for our eternal home, shall He take us to be with Him.
He is so mighty. He is so powerful. His truth is like honey to our souls and He is the bread of life, the only real sustenance. Our moments are all grace, however they are spent.
Our circumstances aren’t meant to make sure we remain happy, they are to help us learn and practice holiness. They are to pry us from the earthly and make us desire the Heavenly. They are to shape us to be more like Him. Joy and happiness are lovely byproducts of resting in Jesus but maybe our real issue is that we were placing our joy in the wrong source all along. If losing Jesus is literally impossible to do, then isn’t joy always yours to hold?
So, today, I am thankful for such a good, good Father. Always. Forever. No matter what.
But of course, getting the best hugs in the whole wide world from Big Joe makes for the sweetest, most undeserving gift. We promise to not take them for granted.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” -1 John 3:2
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33