This week at church, our pastor talked about suffering and gave the most amazing analogy. This is the Jamie's condensed version: our need of Jesus is like a furnace in the bottom of our house (he's from Ohio... they have those there). During the summer months you may not even remember that it's there because you feel don't need it, but as fall and winter set in, you turn it on and enjoy your happy home. But when a blizzard comes you don't just realize your need for it, you get as close to it as you possibly can to stay warm. Suffering causes the same thing in our lives - to get as close to Jesus as possible. As he shared that, I began to think of my own suffering moments and the closeness of Jesus...
Everyone’s picture of suffering looks different. Some are much more extreme and some are far more mild but suffering is real and God can really meet you there. Here's when Jesus met me...
From the moment he was awake to random moments he went to sleep, he cried. “Babies cry” was the response I got from a lot of people… that is until they heard him. The astonished look people would give when he let out his wails of pain from the depths of his soul… they were intense. Yep, that’s what I dealt with for the first 9-10 months of Andrew's life. I don’t have those sweet infant baby pictures of them curled up in a little basket. I have the mental image of a face twisted in pain and an exhausted mother just trying to hold it together.
I cannot count the number of days and nights I cried out to the Lord and begged him to “fix” my son; to allow him to sleep, to allow ME to sleep. Some days He felt silent like He didn’t care that I was losing my mind. And then He would send me things.
One day I remember starting out the morning with Andrew strapped to me, crying (as usual), bouncing and walking back and forth across my small apartment living room. A friend of mine had posted a worship song, which I clicked on in desperation to hear a word of encouragement. That word turned into pure and sweet worship of my Savior. Yes, I still cried out for Him to take this from me, but I wept as I bounced, sang and cried out to the One who hears. Did Andrew stop crying? No. Not by a long shot. But oh how Jesus met me there that day.
Several other days he sent friends to hold and rock him while I got a moment of peace. He sent fellow mamas to speak words of life and encouragement into my weary soul.
But here is one thing He didn’t do: He didn’t make Andrew stop crying - he didn't stop the blizzard, even though I knew he could. As I leaned in, he held me there. It absolutely brings me to tears to remember these moments. They were hard. I would not wish them on anyone nor would I want to do it again. BUT I am glad that I suffered because I met my Jesus in a way I never would have if Andrew would have slept and ate like the baby I would have liked.