I lift up my eyes to the hills (August 2009)

It’s always hard to leave a place that means everything happy and secure, and it’s increasingly difficult to leave the fellowship of my family. But, in the days since we have returned home, I have realized how much the Lord gave us with this time away. I have never before felt the peace and quiet of that place as I did. I have never taken so much pleasure in watching Josh completely unwind.

Towards the end of our vacation our eighth anniversary, my due date for our twins and my 30th birthday all passed in quick succession. Those were hard days for me and I was glad to celebrate my birthday quietly, without any pomp. I wonder what my 30s will bring. My 20s certainly didn’t play out as I expected.

The word that has been sounding in my mind over and over these last weeks is helpless. I don’t mean helpless in the sense that I am without help. I mean helpless in the sense that I have no power of my own to accomplish anything that I desire. I have this mental image in my mind of being wholly in the hand of God, weak and unable. I think of Ebenezer and Hannah when they were in the womb. They were helpless – entirely dependent on me to nurture them and give them life. And when I couldn’t do that, they died. But it really wasn’t I who gave them life and sustained them. It was only God all the time. God who gave them life and God who took it away. And I am no less helpless than they were. I cannot preserve my life. I cannot fulfill my desires. I cannot bring about joy in my heart. I cannot make myself like Jesus. I have nothing: no virtue, no power, no strength. I do not know what my future holds. And if I did know I could do nothing to change it or to bring it about. God alone gives and God alone takes away. God alone gives life and sustains it and then ends it when it is time.

These thoughts aren’t new, of course, but never before have I felt their poignancy. Never before have I felt so entirely without strength – so vulnerable – before God.

But then, if it is God alone who has the power then I know where my hope is. My hope for the preservation of my faith; my hope for strength each day and my hope for the future. All I have is prayer. That is my only weapon – my only recourse – my only source of strength. To pray with all one’s heart while humbly submitting to whatever answer God will give…I have neither courage nor humility, but both are required of me.

“As servants watch their master’s hand, or maidens by their mistress stand, So to the Lord our eyes we raise until His mercy He displays.”

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