Every February or so one of our children (we'll call him Champ) has a yucky bout of pneumonia. And so far it's landed right on or around his birthday, leaving him with conflicting feelings every year leading up to his special day. Excited but nervous, slightly erring on the side of a germaphobe; very willing to rest and take off from all activities in hopes he might bypass what has become the inevitable. And this year as I stood looking over his toothless grin, glassy eyes and winded cheeks I couldn't help but bear a tiny bit of sadness for him. Sick again, on his birthday. We know the drill, and thank God for modern medicine that it is treatable and short-lived, but I was staring at a fresh reminder of what was the reality of his birth. What has been part of our story each year. With each birth thereafter. What could likely always be.
And in that moment, as my mama heart just wanted things to be right and perfect and wonderful for him, I am reminded to "Come and see what God has done..." Psalm 66:5
Setting precedence for the rest of mankind in Joshua 4, God commands Joshua to instruct his twelve men, one from each tribe to go and lay up a stone, a sign amongst themselves. Beginning in verse 20 it reads, "And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
You see when Champ was born he was a tank. I was overdue and a tank myself. Labor was long and slow-progressing, and in a pinnacle of despair he was forced out only to get severely stuck and aspirate what seemed like every ounce of meconium there was and then some more. Things quickly spiraled downward for us both and we laid in the hospital waiting to catch a glimpse of our baby. Things continued to worsen and there we sat in front of the neonatologist being told in the middle of the night that unless he was flown elsewhere he likely wouldn't make it. Being in the drugged and fatigued state that I was, there wasn't much ability to process and absorb the situation. But what we we did know is that the Rock of Ages was with us, holding us, never leaving us for a moment; and so through our exhausted and shaky voices the only thing we were able to whisper was
"God...please breathe life into this baby's lungs"
And. He. Did.
Early on in the history of all the things, God stared at the faces of disappointment on his dear children's faces for generations knowing that our hearts were bound to a place that is not our forever home. That pains and trials and the day to day would come to steal our joy, robbing us of our true hearts desire. And there He instructs his people, after delivering them from a situation that would seemingly be a reminder in and of itself forever and ever, "you need to do this." So that you may KNOW the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may FEAR the Lord your God forever.
When I am staring in the face of disappointment, His call invites us to come and see what He has done.
When I am woken up nightly in the face of a child's illness, He says come, lest you not forget what I have done.
When you roll over in the middle of the night only to be reminded of the empty space that was once made warm by the covenant of marriage, God invites us to not forget His goodness.
When a loved one is handed a terminal disease, His miraculous story and Spirit groan with His Word written forever in history begging us to just REMEMBER what He has done.
As I fumble through the messiness of my own sin, his nail pierced hands cry don't you forget what I have done!
So with eyes afresh, I stare at my precious and beautiful gift of an eight year old. And I am reminded that God is the God that breathes life into dry bones. Or meconium stained lungs. He is a God bearing scars to blot out my every transgression and offering me a fresh taste of grace and mercy with each morning I wake up. He is the God that has granted us another day, another moment undeserving; a God, that as we stare daily into the face of disappointment beckoning us to shift our eyes from Him, we are never facing a second apart from Him, if we so choose. He is the God whose love alone is better than anything life has to offer. So today, today I will choose to lay up a stone or two or ten of remembrance. Because when I am faced with a moment that wrecks my heart to pieces I will KNOW and REMEMBER the goodness and MIGHTINESS of our God. And without Him, I've got nothing.
66 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah
5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8 Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on[a] my tongue.[b]
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!