He is Still Good
Nearly two weeks ago we learned that the life I had been carrying in my womb had turned to death only a week after we first saw that tiny heart beating. Weeks I carried death in my own body, without even knowing. The reality of that truth was painful – I had been living a lie and didn’t even know it. I was hurt, but, more, I was hurting for those precious parents – the ones who had entrusted their little treasure to my care.
As only God had planned, we received this news only two days before our annual state-wide Baptist ladies retreat – one of my favorite events of the year. I had only missed two of these in the past decade – each was because of the recent birth of a child. Yet as I burned from the recent loss of another, longing to simply curl up under a blanket and be free from people and worried glances, I knew that if I needed anything in that moment, I needed to hear God speak. And it wasn’t that I felt He had abandoned us, but I knew that being surrounded by worship and sound teaching would surely be a salve to my soul. Thus, much to the surprise (and maybe the silent protest) of some, I got on that bus and headed to the place where my heart could retreat.
It was exactly the right thing to do.
As I worshipped alongside the women of my church and my state, healing tears flowed. The lyrics all dug deep into my soul and met me where I was. And on that first night of worship, I sang these words:
“And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
. . .
God is my victory and He is here
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise”
All of my life. In every season. He is still God and I have a reason to sing. And I will bring praise. Even in the fire.
The next morning, one of our keynote speakers brought a message titled, “How to Be an ‘Even-If’ Christian.” Her text was from Daniel 3.
This is a story I know well. Of course, almost any Bible-believing Christian who has been attending Sunday School since birth has heard the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but when I say I know it well, I mean I know the lesson she was bringing to us, because it’s the very foundation for my youngest daughter’s name.
As the Bible tells it, these three men, after being put in a position of power in the king’s palace, were given the choice to bow down to an idol the king put before them or to be tossed into the fire to die. They chose to honor God, and in doing so, were, essentially, choosing death.
At this point the king mocked them, insisting that if they chose not to bow down they would, indeed, be thrown into the fiery furnace, “Then what god,” he asks, “will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
The three men get fired up (if you’ll pardon the pun), “The God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand.” That’s confidence. “But even if he does not, . . . we want you to know . . . that we will not serve your gods.” That’s courage.
And that was the point of our speaker’s lesson: We need to be Christians that face whatever trial is set before us with an attitude that says, “Even if . . .”
Even if . . . everything falls apart, we lose everything we own, our very lives are taken from us. Even if. We will worship the one. true. God.
It struck me that throughout our surrogacy journey we had heard a few “What if”s. “What if . . . it doesn’t work?” “What if . . . you can’t have any more of your own children after this?” “What if . . . you are putting your health at risk?” What if?
Yet, regardless of what it may have seemed, any scenario which was brought before us was one we had already considered, felt, and put aside. Because we were walking through this, this very particular and clear calling from our God, with an attitude that said, “Even if.”
Even if . . . it doesn’t work. Even if . . . we can’t have any more childre. Even if . . . I’m putting my own health at risk. And even if . . . I die. The choice to follow God wherever He leads is the choice I am going to make.
So even now. Even when we walk through the desert of questions. What happened? What does this mean? Will we continue to try and feel as though we have failed? Even now. We continue to hope.
Because the God Who has called us is faithful.
This one truth I do not doubt. And if He has called us to this, He will not abandon us, and His purpose, however that might look, will absolutely be accomplished.
We will continue to walk this journey until He tells us otherwise. We will try again and we will continue to hope.
Because He is still God. He is still good. And I will always have a reason to worship.