The anticipation of the joyful arrival of our newest children has yielded and given way to the realization of their joyful arrival. Our family of three is now a family of five. Thinking upon the events surrounding the arrival of our two newest gifts from God, I penned these words to my newest children as a sort of paternal plea. While these words were aimed at my children, they are also a summons to my own heart to remember the all surpassing goodness of God.
On your early arrival
There is not one second in all of history that rejects God’s providential care. There is not one circumstance that forbids God’s sovereign rule. All things—every millisecond and millennium, molecule and macrostructure, are subject and obedient to the King of kings and Lord of lords who wields His power in absolute, supreme, perfect love. Your arrival may have the appearance of untimely, unfortunate prematurity, but it is not ultimately so. God knows the end from the beginning and is moving all things—the mundane and the miraculous—to the end toward which His benevolence has from eternity past ordained. This is the only sufficient anchor to hold in the midst of the storm, the only adequate balm to heal the ache of suffering, the only visible beacon of hope in the dark, the only flowing well of joy in the desolate places. If I have no hope that in mysterious providence, God is ruling and reigning, orchestrating and ordaining all things according to the counsel of His life-giving will, I shall have no hope indeed. But if I by His grace possess this hope, I shall possess that which cannot be forfeited.
In love He has entered into our tragic drama and taken the worst of our plight upon Himself in order to ensure an eternally happy ending for His children.
And it is sweeter still—God does not merely stand above history as a skilled puppeteer who moves the story along from afar. In love He has entered into our tragic drama and taken the worst of our plight upon Himself in order to ensure an eternally happy ending for His children. Therefore, though the brokenness of this world tarries for the night, there is an unspeakably great joy rising with the victorious morning’s sun.
On the rain of the day of your birth
Consider the wonder of the rain. It both points to God’s grace and His judgment. We are reminded that God alone has power to sustain and nurture creation—that He alone keeps vigilant watch over creation and gives the rains in their seasons to sustain it. And oh, the patience of God to be faithful to His promise to never again flood the earth—that the rains would terminate and cease in immediate obedience to His command—in spite of the constant assault against Him orchestrated by a humanity that refuses to offer Him praise or recognize Him as God. What grace pours down from heaven when God throws open the floodgates and the rain falls!
Oh, the patience of God to be faithful to His promise to never again flood the earth—that the rains would terminate and cease in immediate obedience to His command—in spite of the constant assault against Him orchestrated by a humanity that refuses to offer Him praise or recognize Him as God.
But what fear is roused at the clasps of thunder and flashes of lightning that serve to remind us that judgment is coming—that the trumpet of God will one day soon boom louder than any clasp of thunder to usher the return of the King and Judge of all the earth, and the light of His holiness will soon pierce and break through to every dark place like lightning in the night sky revealing everything that is hidden so that all men will stand before Him stripped of all self-righteously sewn fig leaves and give an account for their deeds.
As God graciously appointed refuge for Noah from the deadly torrent, God has appointed a better refuge yet—Christ. And all those who take refuge in Him have safe and secure passage through the waters of judgement because Christ has plunged into the deadly flood and come up again. Take refuge, my children, and make haste. Christ loves to welcome those who know Him to be their only hope of rescue.
On having to leave you in the hospital
My heart is undone, and I am helpless. I am crippled and can find no rest. To leave you feels like abandonment, disownment. This is a nearly too painful reminder that you are not first mine but God’s. The ache is a tutor instructing me in the fear of the Lord, the uneasiness a guide leading me to find rest in the Lord. I lift my eyes to the hills and pray to know, to really know that my help and your help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. It is He who neither slumbers nor sleeps that keeps watch over you while I from afar in my weakness and frailty give way to sleep’s siren song. Our separation has been a sword in the gracious hand of the Lord piercing the masquerading veil of self-sufficiency and devastating the pompous stronghold of self-dependence. But the Lord breaks to bind. He wounds to heal. He knocks down to build up. There is hope yet that you will soon come home. And oh the angst of waiting! It draws my heart to long not only for your appearing but also the appearing of the One who will soon come to make all sad things come untrue.
Our separation has been a sword in the gracious hand of the Lord piercing the masquerading veil of self-sufficiency and devastating the pompous stronghold of self-dependence.
You have been exposed to the brokenness of this world too soon, my loves. But if I have any affection for you, any desire to care for you, any capacity to shelter you, God has infinitely more still. Though you will not remember how the Lord cared for you while I could not in these days, I pray I am faithful to tell you often of His faithfulness and to cast you upon the care of the Father of us all.