There was a googly eye in my sock this morning. Not on it, in it. How does that happen? I have no idea. And there’s the mysterious (occasional) disappearance of hand soap from the soap bottles. I found out just yesterday that it was Maddie. I didn’t know she could, but she figured out how to open the bottles and dump them carefully down the drain. My friend and I have a saying that we tell each other all the time, “Cleaning your house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” Some days more so than others.
There are dishes and laundry, children to be fed, taught, and parented. Every morning, they come down, not with sweet voices and happy smiles (the toddler does, bless her heart), but with their sleepy little faces all scrunched in irritation and offense at each other. It’s hard to not catch their mood. It’s hard to hang on to the last rays of “Hope in God…my salvation and my God,” that I just wrote in my journal.
You might not have small children, but you have small irritations. The day is heavy and it has just begun. Our tempers get quick and our patience wears thin; the days roll into weeks, and then into months. Maybe your life has taken a familiar routine. Tired of lockdown, tired of isolation, tired of bad news. Tired of homework and home workouts, tired of working from home and zooming, yes, from home. We’re doing just fine. But we’re tired. Deeply tired. Maybe we’ve purged and cleaned and organized everything we can. Or maybe we haven’t. We’re just ready to have a game night. Some night, somewhere else.
For us, we were house hunting and juggling our home life. When Zoom Bible studies bring deeper and more searching questions, sometimes we have to admit, “I don’t know.” That’s a hard sentence to say when all eyes are on you.
How does one “Mount up on wings as eagles and run and not be weary”? The daily discouragement of the many little things inside, and the mounting pressure of big things outside. I feel the whisper of the enemy, “You are not equipped to meet this trial. What will you do?” Even in writing these words…I am helpless.
But can I gently ask, after I share my struggles with you, isn’t that the point?
The Lord took the disciples out onto the lake on purpose. He said “Let’s go over to the other side” (Luke 8:22). He had his reasons to direct them into the storm, to where they thought they were perishing and where they cried out in fear. To where it was too much. I hear it so often that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. But I beg to differ – He always gives us more than we can handle on our own strength so that we find we must depend wholly on His strength.
When the Lord said, “Where is your faith?” I always thought He basically told the disciples, “You failed.” But that’s not true. Them asking for help was not the problem, but rather the problem was where they had placed their confidence.
“Where is your faith?” Could be “Where is your confidence?” This is a question, not an accusation. He asked, so they would answer for themselves in their own hearts. So they would think about where their faith was resting. If it was in their sea-faring skills or their own strength, then it was in the wrong place. They asked the essential question, “Who is this man that even the wind and the waves obey him?” Who is He, sister? He is God, and He doesn’t ask me to give him my success, He deeply wants my faith before my success.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7).
If my confidence is in my parenting abilities, my scheduling prowess, my theological knowledge, my experience, in my fitness routine, in my ability to find the “right house” for my children, then my confidence is misplaced.
Recently we put an offer on a house that perfectly suited our needs. The basics were there – bedrooms, bathrooms – but I loved the little things too. I had innocently asked the Lord for a bigger washer last fall…sort of a half-hearted prayer for a non-essential thing that I was unwilling to spend the money on as we saved for a down payment. My tiny apartment-size washer and dryer is very efficient, but it runs all day long with the amount of laundry we go through. When I opened the washer that came with this house, I almost cried because it was so big. I called to the agent in the other room, “Does it come with the appliances?” She called back, “Yeah, this one does.”
“Oh Lord,” I breathed. Faith lets God be God. Faith slides our confidence off of ourselves and our lack of resources and onto Him. He longs for us to trust Him in the dark, in the middle of our struggles. Through the trouble and trial and hopelessness, He gives us the precious opportunity to look to Him. To trust the One who knows our trial and controls everything. Our trials give us the precious gift of faith. Confidence in Him, not in me.
Will God rob us of our faith and tell us the future? No. We offered on that house, and we were outbid by a cash offer. For a full day, I mechanically went through my day, feeling discouraged and confused. But in the afternoon, during the children’s quiet/nap time, I wrote the words that had been stirring in my soul all day. “Will I rob you of your faith and tell you the future?” I set it aside and slipped out of the house for a run. The air was frigid, but my heart was oh, so warm. We may have no home, but all will be well. I have a good Father who knows my needs. My confidence — oh, the relief — was again planted in Him and not in me. There was peace in knowing that He knows and cares.
I’ve heard it said that God is looking for empty hands to fill. Are yours empty? Worn out, empty, and tired like mine are? Then let them be filled. Put your confidence in Him and His goodness. “Surely we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” In the land of raising children. In the land where children are grown. In the land of house hunting. In the land of leading others to Him. In the land of cancer. Or heartache. Or the long road of grief. Surely we will see His goodness, and we have, haven’t we sisters? Take time to remember your Lord and how He has rescued you before. Quietly slip your empty hand back into His.
“Where is your faith?” For He is abundantly able to do far more than we ask or think.
As a postscript — I have to share this. That cash offer was withdrawn the day after that cold and hope-filled run. We will close on March 2, and we are overwhelmed with the goodness of God. It is not a house in the country, but I love it dearly. If you were praying, thank you. He heard.