The Reason I Haven’t Been Writing
You may have noticed, but since we’ve been home I haven’t been writing or updating as much. I could blame it on a myriad of reasons. For starters, the whole “learning how to be a parent” thing could be a pretty good excuse. You know, going without sleep for days on end, changing diapers that possess contents you would never wish upon your greatest enemy, watching your house turn into a Toys-R-Us (while stepping on said toys often or stepping on toys that make noise which wake up your sleeping child..that’s my personal favorite), etc.
Or, I could blame it on learning how to be full-time live in nurse. Chelsea and I administer drugs, check vitals, replace NG tubes, check oxygen rates, and help Davy with her physical therapy every day.
Or, there could be the whole figuring out life with all the aforementioned factors plus work, seminary, marriage, church, community, friendships and everything else life entails.
There are multiple excuses I could use, but that’s not the reason I haven’t been writing.
As I was journaling the other day I realized the real reason I hadn’t been writing…
By unbelief, I mean that I had stopped believing the promises of God over my life.
John Piper, a pastor that I’ve quoted often and who has had monumental influence over my life, has this to say about unbelief:
All the sinful states of our hearts are owing to unbelief in God’s super-abounding willingness and ability to work for us in every situation of life so that everything turns out for our good. Anxiety, misplaced shame, indifference, regret, covetousness, envy, lust, bitterness, impatience, despondency, pride—these are all sprouts from the root of unbelief in the promises of God.
Unbelief of the Human Heart
I think it could be easy to ask the question, “Scott, you saw God work miracles in the NICU, there is a miracle staring you back in the face every day, how could you doubt God?”
To answer the question I would point to the book of Exodus chapter 16.
The people of Israel had seen God liberate them from the powerful hand of Pharaoh through heaven sent plagues and a miraculous escape route that led them through the Red Sea – truly unimaginable and miraculous (Ex. Ch. 1-15). However, despite seeing God move in such a tangible way, the people of Israel quickly forgot about the God who saved them and began to grumble and complain.
In Chapter 16 the people begin to complain to Moses saying it would have been better to stay in Egypt! (Ex. 16:2-3).
How confounding is it that the people of Israel would doubt whether the God who radically SAVED them would be able to graciously SUSTAIN them as well?
However, this is true of every human heart. Our hearts are fickle and quick to forget the goodness of God.
My Fickle, Unbelieving Heart
I have seen God do the miraculous. My little girl lived when the statistics told me that the chances weren’t good. I was given a Red Sea moment.
Yet, when I got home, the very thing I had been praying for, I began to complain and grumble when things got challenging – just like the people of Israel.
At home there are no medical staff giving you support or sending you home to go sleep at night. At home there hasn’t been much mobility because of Davy’s quarantine during flu season. At home there is no one applauding your heroics like there were when we were in the hospital.
Home has been our arid wilderness.
During this time I stopped pursuing the One True God through the spiritual disciplines (prayer, scripture, fasting, etc.) and started pursuing the false cultural gods of consumerism, escapism and individualism. Often this manifested itself through medicating my soul by endless scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, or comfort eating. On the surface these things can seem harmless, but in actuality they are deadly sins rooted in the unbelief that God won’t be enough to satisfy or sustain.
My moment of sobriety came when I was reading a devotional to Davy, which is our usual bed time routine.
The title of the devotional: “Come Back”
God just wants us close to him. Whenever we wander from him he says to us:
Come back to me
Because I’m gentle and kind.
I’m slow to become angry with you.
But very quick to forgive you!
So come back home to me
And be sorry inside your heart.
I’m waiting to forgive you.
Wherever you are,
Whatever you’ve done.
As I was reading, I could sense the scales falling from my eyes and the stone around my heart start to be chipped away.
That night I got on my knees and repented before God for my unbelief. I repented of my doubt that the God who had saved my little girl would be the same God who would sustain our family through the trial of being home. I thanked him for his son Jesus who had never once doubted his goodness to sustain him and for the truth that I had been given his perfection through his sacrifice on the cross.
I spoke Joel 2:12-13 over my soul, “‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart…Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love”.
As I return home, I wonder if there are any of you who need to return home as well? Maybe, you were on a spiritual high, but the wear and tear of every day life has left you worn out? Maybe, you have been running after the things of the world for a long time, but it has left you unsatisfied? Maybe, you have never accepted the free gift of grace from God, but your soul has been searching for salvific air to breath?
No matter where you are, I want to encourage you to “return home”. Wherever you are… Whatever you’ve done….Just come. You’ll have a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father waiting for you when you get there.