Sunday, February 3, 2008


I happened upon this blog one day, and read the entire thing all at once; I couldn't help myself. It's written by Nathan, husband of Tricia and father of Gwyneth Rose who is not even a month old yet. He's in his twenties and loves his wife and daughter just as any Real Man loves his wife and child. Tricia is currently very ill, In The Serious Part Of The Hospital Ill, and is waiting an organ transplant. Their babe is in the NICU, as she was born prematurely due to the health of her Mama.

I went through a variety of thoughts and feelings as I was reading what he had written; read it yourself and you'll understand what I mean, we can spare the lengthy explanation. That family has been implanted in my heart, and I pray for them every time their faces pop in my head, which is often. I am inspired by his faith, his attitude, and his grit. Not gritty grit...I don't ever really like that. Determination. He said that it helps him to write about his faith because the writing reinforces him and helps his faith to be more secure. I've paraphrased liberally there, but I think I got the gist. (If I haven't, and you read this, Nate, please correct me.)

I am so inspired at his ability to celebrate the joy in his life while the two people most dear to him in the world are struggling for their lives. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV, here) says "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I've heard the "Rejoice in the Lord always part" time and again. Not being the sort of person who finds it easy to rejoice even as a part-time vocation, let alone always, it sort of puzzled me. Okay, puzzled isn't quite the right word there, it pretty much makes me roll my eyes and huff a great big "whatever" skyward. In writing, context is everything, and it makes a world of difference here. The next few verses make the rejoice part real.

The Lord is at hand. God is with us, everywhere from the grocery store to the ICU. In sickness and health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer...and boy do we know that at our house. The poorer part anyway, I can't vouch for the richer part just yet. Don't be anxious (for God is right here), but in everything pray, and ask God with humbleness whatever it is you need to ask.

For as much of my life as I can remember, people's names or faces have sprung to mind, or I've experienced really intense feelings in the deepest part of my spirit. Only recently have I discovered that this happens because I need to be praying for the person on my heart, or the person whose intense emotion I felt. I know that I need to pray because I can't escape the feelings, and my mind can't release the name and face of the person until I've prayed. Nothing else worked. I can't really put words to how I, myself, feel about this, probably because how I feel about it is really secondary to whatever is going on with the other person. Believe me, I know that praying can be really difficult. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm supposed to be praying for, for myself and my family, the people I know intimately, let alone praying for Suzie Q or whoever it is that God throws my way any given moment.

A number of years ago, before I was married, my family had a pretty major upset. (If you are reading this and don't know what I'm talking about, ask me. It's not a series of events I should actually write about just yet. People's feelings and all.) Right before it all went down (like an avalanche, for the record), I read this bit from Romans. That I was reading my Bible at all is a bit of a mystery to me, but I was reading nonetheless.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:26-28, ESV)

In my weakness, which is really the level I operate on regularly, I know I don't pray what I should, and I know I pray things sarcastically and full of "but" statements. What an amazing, comforting thing to know the Holy Spirit takes the groanings of our deepest selves to God. And the Spirit does it in a way that lines up with what God would have for us.

It's in my weakness that I do not know what to pray. It's in my weakness that I get hung up on not knowing. But it is in my weakness that the cries of my soul are taken to God. It is in the times when we groan at the very thought of rejoicing that our groan is carried to the ears of Christ. And it is in that time of vulnerability that the will of God is carried out in our lives, whether we know it or not.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Spirit takes the cries of our broken spirits to the Father, and leaves instead the peace of God in its place. This is what I see when I read what Nathan writes about his wife and daughter: the peace of God guarding his heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

1 comment:

talk to me, people. because you know i get all giddy when you do.