Monday, August 15, 2016

Pushing Past the Seen

Things that are seen. These are the things that command our attention, that fight for our joy. And once again, I found myself fixated on what is tangible. I am in my second pregnancy. The first one ended in a miscarriage 8 weeks in. When I came to the seventh and eighth weeks in this pregnancy, I fought hard to trust the Lord and not give into anxiety. Yet, I was looking to the things I can see or feel to determine how well this pregnancy was going. Was I nauseous? Did I have food aversions? Yes. Good; the pregnancy must be going well. But I experienced spotting for over a week. What did that mean? Was that a sign of a miscarriage? If only my first appointment would come and I could hear the heartbeat...if there is a heartbeat…

Then the Lord brought me to this timely verse one morning:
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I am well acquainted with this verse, but I needed a fresh reminder. I had been focusing on the visible; trusting in what I can sense or see or feel, instead of trusting in the promises of God. I was trusting in feeling nauseous and food aversions and the absence spotting to reassure myself that everything was okay. But the Word of God is more true that the tangible things around me, and He holds out beautiful promises of future grace to those who trust in Him – promises that never fail.

Yet, even though God brought this lack of trust to my attention, I continued to struggle. I knew I needed to focus on the unseen things, but visible things were what continued to consume my attention and fuel my fears. I needed specific unseen things to focus on. I needed specific promises besides the broader truths that God was sovereign and was working for my good.

Once again, God in His grace met me in my struggles and unbelief. That weekend the sermon at church was from Psalm 139. I studied it beforehand to prepare for the sermon and God used that psalm to remind me of His constant care and presence. He has been with this child from the beginning – before I even knew this little life existed – and He was the One fashioning him or her together. More than that, God has a plan for this child, regardless of how this pregnancy ends. Just like He has numbered and planned my days, He has numbered and planned the days of this little one, no matter how many or few. Furthermore, God promises not to withhold good from His children (Psalm 84:11). Therefore, if the birth and life of this child is good for my husband and me, God will not withhold him or her from us. The same was true with our first pregnancy. Even though we went through a valley of darkness and pain in miscarriage, we watched God work in our marriage and through our lives to strengthen relationships, minister to those suffering in similar circumstances, and draw us closer to Christ. It was good for us to be afflicted in that way (Psalm 119:71), so that we may grow in faith and love and the knowledge of Christ. 

So I am still waiting for my first appointment* and I still have the thought of miscarriage hovering in the back of my mind, but I have a renewed confidence in God’s wise care and plans. His abundant grace is available each day and His mercies are new every morning. They never run dry. And nothing catches Him by surprise. He knows how our first doctor’s appointment will go. He knows how this pregnancy will end. And I can lean into Him and trust what He has in store. Because He is not only working for mine and my husband’s good, but He is working for the good of this baby and of His church and for the glory of His name. I cannot control what is going on inside of me, but I can trust the One who is in control. He is working in the unseen places and in unseen ways, and what cannot be seen now will one day reveal His omnipotent wisdom and goodness and glory to all.

*This post has been in the works for several weeks. Daniel and I had our first appointment last Tuesday. And the Lord in His kindness met us in our doubts and fears and allowed us to hear the heartbeat. :) We are thankful for such a gift!

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