The weekend had been beautiful- blue skies and warm sunshine. Their adventure-loving hearts satisfied and their feet wearied, the couple headed home.
“It was so fun to explore the city!” she said, reminiscing on the soft pink cherry blossoms and soaring marble buildings. “You deserved to get away for your birthday!”
He grinned in response and turned his attention back to the heavy traffic.
A few hours later, they were rolling through green countryside. It was good to be home. They pulled up to the mailbox and she opened the lid and her heart stopped. There it was. The envelope they’d been waiting on for almost a year.
Their eyes met as their heartbeats quickened. What news would they find? Was this finally over? Oh what a glorious birthday gift that would be for him!
Or would their request be denied? Would they have to start all over again in another system?
“Let’s unload everything first, then sit down and pray,” he said calmly. Her hands were shaking with nervousness as his deep voice thanked God for the answered prayer of finally receiving news, and asked for strength and wisdom for whatever the paperwork bore.
The woman’s heart was beating so loudly she could barely hear the sound of the ripping paper. Their eyes scanned quickly over the sheet.
Oh Father, no. NO!
For a long time, they sat there in silence. No words, no movement, no celebration. Just silence and broken hearts.
Then they discussed how they were expecting this, that really- the chances of this being over had been rather slim. But to have that sliver of hope nailed shut, to look ahead and see more waiting was so disappointing.
That evening she battled anger and inwardly yelled at God. It’s his birthday! Why would you allow us to receive this news on his birthday?! Do you even love him?!
The response was instant. I love him more than you can imagine.
She was chastened, but still angry and sad.
The next morning, the woman rose before the sun and went through her routine like a robot. She ate breakfast and sipped her coffee while her heart bubbled with emotions.
Then, she went to the eastern window and stood in the sunshine and cried into the remainder of her coffee.
I’m so weary, Lord. Remind me of Your love. Not just for me, but for my husband.
She sank to her knees and bowed her head in heavy sadness. My husband! My strong, quiet, faithful husband. I just want to make it right for him. I want this battle over for him. I want to protect him, and shelter him, and reassure him. I want justice for him!
“Surrender,” the Spirit said. “Surrender him to Me.”
And she stilled, because there it was. There was her battle. She was believing that she could love her husband better than their Father could love him. She was believing the lie that because He allowed this disappointment and injustice, He didn’t really love and care for him. She claimed to love her husband, when the best way to love him was to surrender and love God first.
The sun poured through the window as the woman closed her eyes. Oh Father. I trust You. I’m sorry for clinging so tightly to control. I surrender it all to You.
Her phone chimed with a new message from a friend, sharing some verses.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
The woman smiled at the Truth that seeped into her heart. It’s all about You, Jesus. That we may know You, and the power of Your resurrection, and the fellowship of Your sufferings, being made conformable unto Your death…(Philippians 3:10). How many times had they discussed how different they were, how the past few years had changed them? How often had they prayed to become more like Him? And God was answering- through trials, through waiting, through crushed dreams.
Life was still hard. She cried several more times that day- tears of anger and surrender and sadness. But when she dried her tears, she marveled at the peace that was settled deeply within her heart.
That evening, the couple laced hands and discussed the future. As they prayed, he asked for boldness like the apostle Paul, for freedom from fear. She asked for trust and patience; and with tears slipping quietly down her cheeks, asked their Father to pour out an abundance of wisdom and courage on her husband through this battle.
We’ll keep pressing into you, Lord- with hands open in surrender and hearts fixed on Your Word. We trust You- thank You for loving us more than we can imagine.
I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to scale the upmost height, and catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith, on heaven’s table land;
A higher plane than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.