Left to myself, I am weak, irritable, exhausted, complacent, and completely unfaithful. Let me expand, or rather, let me give you an example.
It is 3 o’clock in the morning, the baby is stirring. I can hear him rooting around in his bassinet. It is time for him to eat. I am so grateful for the three straight hours of sleep that I just received, and because I think I deserve it, I am praying that our little boy will eat and go right back to sleep so I can get even more uninterrupted sleep.
Unfortunately, my expectations are shot to the ground for the 5th night in a row. Baby boy decides to eat off and on for the next two hours while fussing enough that he must be held and rocked. He grunts and groans. He cries and babbles. He’s hungry but then again maybe not. He wants to suck but doesn’t want the milk. He hates the pacifier. His thumb satisfies but for a moment. He’s hot. No, he’s cold. Mom grows weary and tired. She gets impatient because she cannot figure out what her baby needs in order for her to get back to her coveted sleep time.
It makes me so sad that I get so frustrated and mad at my little boy because he won’t just go to sleep. He doesn’t know his night from his day yet. It’s my job to teach him. Furthermore, everything is brand new to him. Do I seriously think he wants to sleep every second of every day? He wants to see the world. He wants to discover new things. I should be thankful that he’s so eager to learn and observe. Not to mention, I should be taking everyone else’s solicited (and unsolicited) advice and “Enjoy the moments because it goes so fast” or “Hold him while [I] can. Soon he’ll be running around and won’t be [my] baby anymore.”
Though all very true and very much my desire, I’m still weak and vulnerable at the wee hours of the morning. Exhaustion can make you do and say things that you know aren’t true, but your flesh wins because your spirit is weak. I confess – I do not enjoy my little boy at 3 in the morning when I can barely hold my eyes open. Does it make me the terrible mother that I try to convince myself I am when I can’t pull it together? No. It makes me a sinner in need of grace –
A sinner who is being sanctified.
Thankfully, I have a God who loves me enough to not give me the comfort and ease that I so desire because He knows that I will resort to self-sufficiency. He knows that I will go about my life believing that I don’t need Him. God desires to have a relationship with me, one in which He is needed and even wanted – not just in word, but in deed/action.
Charles Spurgeon says in his Morning and Evening devotional * for today (my emphasis added):
Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials … Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.
The questions I have to ask myself are:
Do I really want to grow in grace as I’ve been praying? Do I really want to be continually filled with the Spirit? Do I really want to know Christ more as I have prayed day-in and day-out for weeks now? Do I really want to increase in faith, humility, and compassion?
If so, then I must cease the day – or rather, the night as my circumstances stand now. God is giving me opportunities to allow the Spirit to mold me into a more Christ-like existence!
Spurgeon expands on growth in grace with these words:
God often sends trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?
I believe my extended periods of a wakeful, fussy baby in the wee hours of the morning when most people are still soundly sleeping is a means of wonderful grace! By God’s grace, I will allow Him to use these circumstances and inconveniences to teach me sacrifice, selflessness, humility, patience, kindness, and oh so much more than all I can ask or think!
Psalm 113:9 says, “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!”
Father God, make me a joyous mother of my child! Help me in the wee hours of the morning to have faith that this moment is sovereignly ordained by You. Help me remember that you do not waste a single moment – everything is for my good and for your glory (Romans 8:28). Help me to remember the price paid on my behalf, especially the forgiveness of my sins (Acts 2:38, Colossians 1:14). For it is by remembering this glorious Gospel, that I have access to You, the one who gives me strength (Psalm 73:26). The one who takes my heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). The one who can change this bitter heart to a joyful heart of gratitude and worship.
Make me a better Christian, Lord Jesus!