Last month, I began the Mom’s Corner by telling about the crises we faced when we returned from our last speaking trip. Our daughter-in-law was having indications of a miscarriage, and my mom was having serious, undiagnosed health problems. Here is a link to that article with more of the details of the problems and beginning thoughts about how we deal with difficulties when they arise.
The day after Nathan and Melanie received the negative lab results, the doctor wanted her to have an ultrasound. Because of the many ultrasounds Melanie has had with previous high-risk pregnancies problems and the bad news they often have carried with them, Nathan and Melanie dreaded ultrasounds. This one was certainly going to be the same. From the miscarriage symptoms Melanie was experiencing plus the lab report, they knew full well what the ultrasound would show—their precious little baby with no heartbeat.
As the technician began the ultrasound, Nathan and Melanie heard her say, “The heartbeat looks good. Do you want to see your baby?” Totally expecting to hear the exact opposite words, it took a few moments for the news to sink into their hearts. They asked her whether she really meant there was a heartbeat, and she assured them that she did. Emotions went from grief to elation, but with reservations because of the other information that was indicating a miscarriage.
We continued to pray fervently for the baby, but the next lab work didn’t show any improvement in the hormone levels. By the third draw, the hormones had actually dropped, and other miscarriage signs continued. Again an ultrasound was ordered, but this time the results were what had been anticipated the first time. Melanie miscarried the next day.
Some of you have probably experienced a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages, the loss of a baby because of prematurity, or even the death of a baby or child after birth. Perhaps it was the death of a husband or another loved one. Maybe you are dealing with serious health or financial problems. Maybe your struggles are small as compared to these kinds of difficulties, but they are still issues you must face and deal with emotionally.
As we face these kinds of trials, we begin with a focus on the Lord, knowing that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. That was the thrust of last month’s article.
One way that we can put our eyes on the Lord is demonstrated to us in His Word.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Our trials can seem to be too big, too painful, and too difficult to get through. However, when we realize that the time we pass in the midst of those problems is very small compared to the time we will spend in eternity, our hearts can be encouraged. Pain doesn’t last forever for the believer.
In addition, we aren’t left to try to manage disappointment, pain, grief, or any other emotion that comes from the crises of our lives alone. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 tells us: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
God’s comfort is offered to me, but I have discovered that I have to receive it. When I allow my thoughts to think the worst, feel sorry for myself, determine that it is too hard, or question and blame God for what has happened or is happening, I am putting up a barrier that doesn’t let me experience His comfort. The focus is pity for myself at that moment, and it keeps me from experiencing His comfort, grace, and strength.
I have a responsibility as to what I will do with my thoughts. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Look at what Job did with his thoughts in his greatest moment of emotional pain: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22). I want to have Job’s response of worshipping my Lord Jesus in the midst of the very smallest to the very biggest trials that I face.
When those fearful, overwhelmed, negative emotions try to rise up within me as I face a crisis or even a simple problem, here is what Paul did and what I am to do too. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “Be careful for nothing” means that I am not to worry or be anxious. Certainly my natural response to difficulties is to be fearful, think the worst, or fret about it. Here we see that in every thing – big or small – I bring my request to God. I am not to do it with muttering, complaining, and self-pity, but rather with thanksgiving.
The result of that prayer is the peace of God. We have peace because the problem isn’t ours to bear responsibility for or to solve. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). If we feel the yoke is hard or the burden heavy, then we know that we haven’t given over the responsibility to the Lord Jesus. We are still carrying it ourselves or pushing to lead in the yoke when we should be following. Here again we are reminded of where our cares should be placed. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Next month I want to let you know what has happened with my mom and share more thoughts on what we do when life seems to turn upside down. I pray for each of you facing normal or unusual difficulties that your thoughts can move to eternity, that you will experience God’s comfort, that you will worship your Lord, and that you will cast all your cares on Him.