Practicing Theology in the Emergency Room

His Protection & Our Pain

The day Audrey’s teacher discussed Fire Safety, she came home with lots of questions; questions that revealed the fear stirred up by the safety lessons.

Where is our meeting spot?

Will there ever be a fire in our house?

Do people really die from breathing smoke?

After answering her questions with honesty, she had several nights that she called me upstairs with whimpers–rather than reading her books and falling asleep, she was spinning thoughts & fears about fires around in that little mind.

So, my husband and I encouraged her that she gets to choose what she thinks about.  We told her God did not give her fearful thoughts, and she could replace the fears with God’s ideas & His Word.  So, the next night when she went to bed she found a notecard I had placed on her pillow.  It read,

” God will cover me with his wings; I will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend me.  I don’t fear any dangers nights or day.” (From Psalm 91:4-5)

It was great to see her read the Word aloud, declaring it over herself.  She imagined God covering her with big wings, protecting her from dangers.

And then, a few days later she fell at recess and broke her arm.

As her and I sat in the ER (while my super-hubby cooked dinner & held down the fort with two other hungry littles), she asked me, “Mommy, did God plan for this to happen to me?”

Ouch. I shifted on the stretcher we sat on and heard the waterproof mattress crinkle.

Mommas, what do we do when we tell our babies God is big enough to protect them and they get hurt? How do we respond when they pray for healing & see no change?

Let us begin with what we won’t do–we won’t ask, “Why?” We will never be comforted in a quest to answer that question because I will never know.

What we do know provides comfort.  We know who God is–love, gracious, compassionate, kind-hearted, slow to anger, a giver of good gifts–and what He can do–protect, heal, comfort, redeem.

“Well, honey, He did allow this to happen; I don’t know why.  What I do know is His love for you is even bigger than my love for you.  I do know He promises that He uses everything-whether it feels good or bad–to work into His good plan for us.” Those were hard words as my baby girl’s arm was being wrapped in a splint and tears streamed down her cheeks.

They are even tougher for parents sitting beside beds of seriously ill children, or holding the hand of a broken-hearted child.  His covering & protection may look different than we would envision–but, that makes Him no less capable or loving.  It is simply evidence that we live in a fallen world & His thoughts are higher than our own.

“If we question God’s goodness and love every time he acts in a way that is unexpected, we will end up concluding that he is not good. If we refuse to rest when we don’t understand, we will end up living lives of distress…You rest not because you know, but because the One who knows it all is the definition of what is wise and what is good.”

(Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies)

You Are Being Commissioned

For His Glory & Kingdom

God intends for your work to be purposeful, pleasing (to you), and advance His kingdom.  I’m looking at you working mommas and stay-at-home mommas.

“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward.  [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 AMP)

Our Pastor, Sam Rijfkogel just finished a sermon series entitled, Life’s Workin which he encouraged us to recognize the greatest revival may just happen not because 3,000 people come to the same place (our church) each week, but because 3,000 people go out to 3,000 different places and behave as though they have been commissioned by God to do their jobs.

To finish the series, yesterday, all of us came to church dressed in the clothes we would typically wear to work (I was tempted to wear my slippers with my casual top & jeans, but resisted). Mark and I had the honor of being a part of the prayer team at the end of yesterday’s services.  As a team, we prayed over every person in the service.  The prayer went something like this,

I commission you, in the name of Jesus Christ,

to go into your workplace to serve God & bring Him glory

in order to advance His kingdom. 

I am so excited about what God is going to do in this upcoming week as people go into their workplaces full of the Holy Spirit and operating as those commissioned to advance the Kingdom.  But, I could not stop thinking about you all (I think & pray about my readers often); and, how deeply I desire for each of you to have someone pray over you.  Because, I want us moms to cling to the truth that wherever God has us is the best place to preach His gospel (read my post, “When I Stopped Being a Good Mom“.

And, so on this Monday,

I commission you mothers, in the name of Jesus Christ

to walk through your homes (picking up stray socks & snack cups)

knowing you are serving God.

I commission you, full of the Holy Spirit, to advance His kingdom

by raising up people who know Jesus. 

I commission you to do the hard work of motherhood, not for your people,

but for God’s glory.

This week, I will be praying for you all–I will pray over my subscribers by first name.

Creation Running Around Your House

Beautiful landscapes, glorious sunsets over the lake, and freshly fallen snow are not the only acts of the Creator that reflect Him.  You have some of His creation running around your house.

I cannot take a walk or even drive to the grocery store this time of year without feeling the impulse to take a (100th) picture of Michigan’s Autumn landscape–the reds & oranges captivate me–shades Crayola cannot duplicate.

I am never in the car alone, so I am often pointing out one window or another telling the girls, “Oh! Look at those ones!”  When I see a green tree, I search for a hint of glorious fall color at the tips of the leaves.

They’re gorgeous, but it isn’t just their beauty that captures me, it is the way those trees proclaim the glory of their Creator.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20, NLT)

At times, I am more moved by the new shade of red on the corner Maple than I am by the small acts of kindness or compassion from my children.  But, Romans tells me that everything God made clearly displays His invisible qualities.  My people reflect their Creator.

Now, those trees never disobey me, mess up the room I just straightened or flush random objects down the toilet, but, if the trees are worthy of my attention (and they are; all of His creation is), then I should practice being captivated when my children display goodness, kindness, patience, or gentleness.  They are declaring the glory of God.

I search in September for the first hints of color on our front yard tree, and celebrate any little tinge of red. As I practice being captivated by the creation in my house, Lord, let me diligently search for any hints of You being reflected in my children–and celebrate them.  Let me not lose hope when so many leaves are still green and unchanged, for You will complete the work you have begun in my children.

Mommas, today when you notice something lovely about creation, let it remind you that those little people bellowing your name from the back seat of the van are His creation, and in little ways, they’re reflecting their Creator–celebrate!