Devotional: Our Help is in the Lord
As most of you know, Josh and I have been parents to a precious little boy for over a month now. As many people told us before we welcomed Wesley into the world, there is nothing that can fully prepare you for what it will be like to be parents. That being said, we felt as prepared as we could have been going into the big day. Coming home from the hospital, we had everything we needed to practically care for our child. However in the weeks that have followed, I have come to find that it is not the practical side of parenting that has been so challenging.
I do not believe we could have prepared ourselves for the toll that the responsibility of being a parent would take on us. Additionally, having a baby during a global pandemic has added another layer to an already difficult time of life. For the last few weeks, I have found myself wracked with fear over the decisions we are making in regards to caring for Wesley. There isn't a handbook on "How to Care for a Newborn During a Pandemic: Special Edition for Josh and Gabby." Before we had Wesley, Josh and I talked about how we wanted our lives to look after having a baby. We discussed resuming activities and how we would integrate Wesley into normal life. We discussed our comfortability with letting people hold him. We talked about safety protocols regarding COVID and vaccination versus non-vaccination. But when we started putting our decisions into actions, I became incredibly afraid.
Josh and I have prayed over every decision we have made. We have prayed over how to care for Wesley and whether or not to take him to church. We have prayed over how to let our family and friends interact with him. In preparing to write this, I felt compelled to share with you all, as you are our family, that we have earnestly prayed over the decision to be vaccinated and at this time, we do not feel comfortable receiving the vaccine. Josh and I have prayed to the Lord for wisdom and guidance and He has provided us with answers. So, why am I struggling with so much fear?
A few days ago, Wesley was asleep in the afternoon and Josh and I decided to try to take a nap. People have reiterated the need to "sleep when the baby sleeps" but my heart was restless. So, guess where I ended up? Facebook. Maybe you can guess where I am going based on where my heart led me this afternoon. As I scrolled aimlessly through my feed, I found a post from the Calvert County Health Department talking about the increase of cases in our area with people commenting on the need for isolation, increased mandates and vaccines. Immediately, I was flooded with the fear and doubt I've been struggling with for weeks. Are we making the wrong choices? What if Wesley gets sick? Are we not protecting our beautiful child that God entrusted to us? And how would we face the judgment of those around us who think we are making the wrong choices if something happened?
In 2 Kings 1:3, the angel of the Lord tells Elijah to go to the messengers of the king and say this: "is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?" I almost wish there was an Elijah sitting on top of a hill in my life to ask me this question every time I turn to something other than the Lord for control and comfort. Isn't that what I had been seeking? Control over the circumstances to ensure a (false) sense of comfort that we were making the right decisions while earning people's approval? As Pastor Barry said in his sermon on Sunday, "In moments of crisis, who do you turn to? Where do you find help?" Even though Josh and I had prayed over these decisions and had felt God give us clear direction, I was not resting in Him. My prayers had not yielded peace in my heart. The Lord was not my desire, my hope, or my help.
Praise the Lord for His infinite grace which was shown to me through Pastor Barry's sermon on Sunday. As Pastor Barry powerfully preached from the pulpit, I was convicted of how I had methodically prayed over these decisions but had not entrusted the Lord with the outcome. Instead, I had sought control, comfort, and approval to save me, forsaking the work of Christ. As Pastor Barry pointed out in his sermon, the Lord provides Ahaziah with proof that He is God, not Baal - and yet, Ahaziah continues to deny Him. Like Ahaziah, even though the Lord has shown his faithfulness and trustworthiness in my life time and time again, I still live in fear and doubt Him.
Praise God that because of Christ, my fate is not the same as Ahaziah's. Instead, I am covered by grace. Through this grace, I am able to call out to the Lord in repentance and humility, asking forgiveness and help in my time of need. And because of Christ, the Lord hears my prayer and answers. My hope is not in having control of our circumstances or knowing all of the right choices regarding how to best care for Wesley, nor is it in the approval of others - my hope is in the Lord and His sovereign grace. And in this, I find true comfort and peace.
Dear friends, if you too struggle with entrusting your heart to the Lord in time of need, rest assured that we are covered by the blood of Christ. As Pastor Barry said in his sermon, God reveals His grace through His judgment. If you are feeling convicted of not trusting the Lord, praise Him! Praise Him for pouring out His grace upon you by revealing your weakness so that He may draw you into a deeper relationship with Him to show you more and more His endless love for you. Brothers and sisters, we serve a merciful and loving father who yearns for us to place our trust in Him. Cry out to Him today and ask Him to be your help in time of need. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3, ESV).
Photo Credit: Rachel Strong