I’ve noticed that the tears come a lot easier these days. Six months now since I held Audrey for the first (and final) time, and though I would say I am doing very well (Emily and I both are, praise God!), there are (and probably always will be) small unsuspecting triggers that can randomly give rise to deep feelings still turning inside me. Sometimes it makes sense, like when watching a father-daughter dance to Steven Curtis Chapman’s Cinderella at a wedding last month suddenly caused me to well up. Other times I admit it seems silly like when watching a movie or TV show where a dad sees his child in peril and suddenly I connect. It’s not just fiction to me. I feel the real love a father has for his child and I understand the pain of watching something happen to my child. With great peace, I have accepted God’s plan to take our daughter, but that doesn’t stop me from having moments every now and then of severely missing her and what could have been. I know I just won’t ever be the same since losing a child.
Since Audrey’s passing, I have spent a lot of time reading the Psalms. One I have read many times is Psalm 119. David’s raw expression of emotions and yet severe trust in God has helped fuel my soul.
“I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word!…
Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!…
My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.”
What I find fascinating about David in Psalm 119 is he does not ask for anything apart from God’s way. Every request is “according to” God’s word, His promise, or His steadfast love.
David comes before God as a child of his Heavenly Father. When he requests, “give me life”, he isn’t like a selfish child demanding, “Give me life safe from affliction! You promised you would!” Rather, I think David understands his value as God’s child, and he is declaring, “Give me life like your Word prepares me for. I trust your Word says you have a plan that cares from my life.”
So when David says, “Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love”, here is what he means: not, “God, you say you love me so treat me in a way that shows me you love me”, but rather, “God I know you love me and so, trusting in that love, I am letting go of my own way for you to take me where you will, whatever the cost to me.”
The Message phrases verse 24 this way: “Let your love dictate how you deal with me.” That puts a lot of trust in God’s love. It says, “I will not try to have my own way. I believe since you love me that your way is better. So, though it may hurt, deal with me according to your love.”
To give up my dreams, if God so wills it, to accept His way— that is not easy. When it means I give up the dreams of raising my daughter, trusting that He has a better plan, that HURTS!
How could a loving God ask me to do that?
Is there a dream that it feels like God has taken from you?
You could call it upsetting or humbling, but David says in Psalm 33 that God, “frustrates the plans of the peoples.” From so far as I can tell, he is talking about all peoples, not just nations other than Israel. Not just those outside the will of God, but any people who make plans can count on their plans being disrupted. Do you find this true in your life? Even though you seek to be in the will of God do you find things do not go your way?
I know I’ve experienced crushing of dreams. But, I made a decision that you need to make too. When God disrupts your life, will it cause you to walk away from Him? Or will it be the catalyst to humble you before Him in realization that He is your good Father with a better plan? Personally, I’ve found comfort knowing that despite a fallen world, God’s will controls. I’m comforted because, as David goes on to say, the plans of God’s heart stand through all generations (see Psalm 33:11). What a promise! God, who we know has the best intentions at heart for us, goes to whatever lengths to secure His eternal plan in our lives. His working of His sovereign, unsearchable ways may mean He frustrates my dreams, but nonetheless I will say, “praise the Lord!” because they are the same sovereign, unsearchable ways of which God sent His one and only Son to the cross to die for me. He gave up His precious child to give me life. For this I have hope! Praise the Lord!