“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in (quiet you with) his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17
I remember growing up and always wanting a family of my own with several kids and that proverbial white picket fence. I pictured a green lawn with sunflowers by a great picture window in the front of the house. I forgot I grew up in Arizona and that there would be no sunflowers, and the grass would be replaced with desert landscaping. Although the white picket fence did not quite pan out, the desire to have kids never left me, although I ended up with three and not the nine or ten I thought I wanted to have. Our firstborn son was challenging enough and made me wonder why I wanted kids in the first place. I was delighted when he was born, but little did I know my nights for the next ten months would come with constant interruptions and falling asleep with the sound of either cries or cartoons in the background. I hear the true delight is when you have grandkids, but I am in no hurry to get to that point.
My parents and sister lived in Chicago when Rebekah and I were first married, and we would go visit them from time to time. We had scheduled a trip to go see them near Rebekah’s birthday in 2002, and we were excited to tell them we were going to have our first baby. Rebekah bought several pregnancy tests just to verify she was actually pregnant. One was not enough to convince her, and she even asked the doctor if they were going to give her one at the office, to which he replied, “didn’t you take three already?” This was her firstborn so I guess she wanted to be sure that she was not getting a false reading. We waited several weeks to tell anyone, and we wanted to wait until at least the ultrasound before we told most people our newfound secret. We got the ultrasound back, and we were elated that we were having a boy. Back then, there was no 3D imaging like they have now and we were given a black and white print out of our ever-growing baby boy. Gender reveal parties were also not a thing back then (I still don’t quite understand why they are now) and the gender reveal was done by the doctor as he pointed out the male difference on the little screen in the exam room.
We took this printout and we decided we would show my parents the picture and surprise them with the news of their first grandchild. We arrived and the cold Chicago air greeted us as we exited the airport and headed towards my parents’ car parked nearby. We were putting the luggage into the car when I pulled out the photo and revealed our big surprise. My parents and sister did not quite understand what I was showing them, but the excitement turned up another level when they realized there was a baby on the way. Their smiles matched ours and we celebrated with some great Chinese food. Everyone was happy and excited about Nate coming into this world, and we all fell in love with the little guy before he even came out of the womb. He was spoiled before he could even see with his own eyes, and he was loved and cared for from the start. I will never forget the joy and elation the moment he was born from all parties who were there and those in the waiting room.
Nate is now in college, but he is still loved and cared for, even though he is thousands of miles away. He will always be special as the first born, and he still brings us happiness and joy as he becomes his own man. I am sure there were times as he was growing up when he did not feel like he was loved by us, but there was not a day or hour that went by when we did not love him.
We go through the trials of life and question whether or not God loves or cares for us. We base this on our feelings and not on the truth of His word. We forget the sacrifice of the cross, and we forget about His constant care for us. We forget how good He is to us, and we focus on the hardships, which are sometimes brought about by our own poor choices. We have a heavenly Father who joys over His children. We have the great privilege to call Him, Abba! He is our Father and He loves us like no other. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He is One who laid down His life for us. You may feel like He does not love you, but I can assure you that He loves like no one else.
Where are you today friend? Are you questioning God’s love for you? Do you realize what He has done for you? Do you realize that He sustains you moment by moment? Are you more focused on your feelings than you are on His Word? He has joy over you, and He has brought you into the family of God. If He is not your Father, will you accept Him today? There is always room in the family of God. May we rest in His amazing love, and may we not allow our feelings to override the truth of His Word.