During a six-day period that bridged the end of 2004 and the advent of 2005, my wife and our families endured a grueling journey of faith that called onto the table all that we believed and understood about ourselves.
We are expecting our second child in June. A sudden phone call on Dec. 28 indicated a potential serious problem. More tests were needed. We were devastated, scared, uncertain, trying to be hopeful.
If the ultimate results were bad, this would be a problem I could not fix. All of my life, I had seldom encountered a challenge I could not overcome through working harder; studying more; advancing my education; building a relational bridge; seeking forgiveness; or embracing many other tactics. This time, however, I simply had no choice but to wait and pray.
It was a place of despair and surrender. It involved arriving at an absolute dependence upon God…which turned out to be a place of victory
Here, at the end of your own abilities and your deeper surrender to God’s mercy, God can do his greatest work in you. Here, you see the fine layers of dust along the thin threads of grace that hold your life together. You reflect on how so much of your life is centered in grace. You realize how quickly dreams, families, resources, entire ways of life can be wiped away, whether by a tsunami, a hurricane, a 9-11… or a mini-quake that rocks your own world in a unique way.
For six days, intentional prayers danced across my lips and flowed out from my heart. I pleaded for God’s mercy, for my unborn child, my wife, for myself. I’d thought God had my attention before Dec. 28. I realized how lax I’d really become in my faith journey with him. His love brought me into a crisis of belief, where I had to truly examine how much I trusted in him. I leaned closer to him and trusted more deeply, and found him yet again to be worthy of my devotion.
We were blessed to receive good news when the additional test results came in. The baby is fine. So far, so good. But the greater victory is that God got a hold of far more of us. Our faith is deeper. Our life is more intentional. I pray over this unborn child each night, just as I pray over my four-year-old-daughter and wife.
I wish I could say that God has my focus each moment of the day…but he certainly owns more of my heart than he did a month ago. And that’s really all he seeks—a little more of us at each season. A deepening devotion. A journey to a place of absolute dependence. And that’s when we really start living a life of faith.