Last night, with a car full of children, in the middle of an intersection, our car decided to die. We sat in the turn lane for about 10 minutes, while I tried repeatedly to start the car, hoping for enough juice to get us to the gas station right across the street. Finally, the car started and we coasted into the parking lot and died again. My husband comes to the rescue, in our other vehicle that has also been giving us trouble. After about an hour of working on "Ole Blue", as we affectionately call our 16 year old Suburban, he was able to get it to start. He heads home and I follow along behind him. On a wing and a prayer, we make it to our neighborhood and turn on our street, where to my utter shock and horror... both vehicles die right in front of our neighbors. Talk about humiliation. Hanging my head in shame, I grab kids and stuff out of the car, and trudge to the house. Among this and other things that are weighing heavy on my heart right now, I succumb to doubt and fear.
This morning, out of habit, not desire, I pick up my Bible and my bible study (Chase by Jennie Allen), grab my cup of coffee and head out to my patio. I don't really feel like praying, I don't really feel like reading, but I do it anyway, because I know somewhere in my overwhelmed heart that God is real and it's all true, even if I have doubts. This week our study is on DOUBT. Seriously that's the name of this weeks lesson. I started flipping through the pages half-heartedly and land on a page that says "describe a time in your life when, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God was real to you." Then she goes on to explain that the word Remember is in the Bible 150 times. God tells us to remember what he has done, so we will have faith in the times that we don't see him or understand what he is up to.
Well, I skipped that page, because right now I'm not really in the mood to remember, but the Spirit wouldn't let it go. So, I turn back and like a rebellious teenager, with a crappy attitude, I think when have you (God) been so real to me. On a good day, when I'm on the mountain, I could name 1000 times, but today, in my mind, is NOT a good day.
Then God reminds me of this time almost 2 years ago, when I was in this same chair, over being pregnant and praying about delivering a beautiful baby boy. I was praying for a natural delivery. I had been induced 4 times before and had meds and all that. Two of my besties had just had babies naturally and I wanted to do the same. It was actually becoming an obsession, like if I didn't, I wouldn't be woman enough. I was praying so fervently about having this baby drug free and on my own, when the Spirit led me to Matthew 11.
In Matthew 11 we see that John the Baptist has been thrown in prison and he sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus "are you the one or should look for or another?" What he means is, looking at his circumstances was making him have some doubts about Jesus as Messiah. He's thinking surely if Jesus is God, he wouldn't allow John to be in prison. John having doubts? The very one who introduced the world to Jesus and said "BEHOLD, THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD." The one who baptized Jesus and heard a voice from heaven say "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."
Jesus sends them back to John with this message "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
Only Messiah could do the things that Jesus was doing. John knew that Jesus was Messiah and Jesus was reminding him that no matter what your personal circumstances may be, JESUS IS GOD. Look at Jesus, not at your circumstances.
Reading that I just knew that He was preparing me that things were not going to go the way I wanted them to, but He was still God, still in control, and could still be trusted, NO MATTER WHAT. One week later, a week overdue, I went into labor on my own. It was an exciting feeling to experience labor on my own, but after just a few hours I started to feel like something was not right. To make a long story short, after a very loooonnnngggg labor, with no progress, I started running a fever and the babies heart rate started dropping, and he wouldn't move down the birth canal, I was rushed to the operating room for an emergency C-section. The TOTAL opposite of what I had so desperately prayed for. There on the operating table, with my guts wide open, and no control over anything that was happening, I can hear chaos in the background. The baby isn't breathing. Then my Dr. tells my husband that she has to call in another surgeon, because she has cut my bowels. During the 20 mins that we are waiting, with my guts still hanging out, for the other Dr., the hospital Pediatrician comes in to tell us that they are rushing our new baby to another hospital, he has an infection in his lungs and isn't breathing well on his own. This hospital doesn't have a NICU. If you know me at all you know I don't even let my new babies go to the nursery, except for what is completely necessary, let alone to a completely different hospital in another city, and because of the C-section I would have to stay at this hospital for 48 hours.
The crazy thing is though, I had already known this was not going to go the way I wanted. God had already prepared my heart. I'm just laying there, during all of this, thinking no matter what my circumstances "JESUS IS MESSIAH". The whole time I felt the Spirit of God, calming my fears, and reassuring me that He was with me and He was in control. No matter what, I could trust him and I had peace. I had peace that didn't make any sense. I had peace that if mommy couldn't be with my baby that there was someone with him that was even better than mommy. I will never forget the moment, two days later, that I met my sweetheart for the first time. As soon as I spoke his name his little brown eyes turned to find his mommy. It was one of the most beautiful things I have experienced. There covered in breathing tubes and feeding tubes was the sweetest little blessing and I was overwhelmed with joy, because I had just experienced the presence of God like I had never before.
This morning, despite not really wanting to, I remembered when God was there and when His presence was so real to me. When my circumstances were scary and out of my control, and I'm reminded of His goodness. My doubts dissolve and my faith is restored, just remembering what God has done before.