“Joy is the hearty echo of God’s great love for us.” –Margaret Feinberg
A morning song bird speaks within the eaves. We crunch breakfast cereal over milky bowls and my girl asks, “What is it saying?”
Her question nudges me awake. Like the bird at the window, God’s love notes echo throughout creation. How long have I been deaf to the melody? And here? Right in front of me, my little girl asks the questions I should be asking. The wonder sings back at me. How many times have I tried to silence it?
When we’re riding in the car on an outing, she becomes my back-seat driver. She provides direct commentary along our daily route, unrolling questions for miles. It feels at times she may never stop talking.
Although sometimes, if I’m listening right, it’s as if from the mouth of a babe she speaks words instructed by heaven, and it silences the enemy and my doubts (Psalm 8:2).
“Mommy? Why did God give you only one?”
It hangs there for a moment…floats like feathers on the air when a bird is caught in the cat’s mouth. I am dumbstruck. Her question stops me in my tracks.
“Only one what, Honey?” But I know what.
She says it clear, “Why did God give you one child?”
How does she know the question of my heart? Oh, Lord, you examine my heart…you know everything before I utter a word (Psalm 139:1-4).
The best teacher may respond to a pupil’s pondering by repeating back the question. Here the Lord, my Rabboni, uses my child to ask. I look back in the rear-view mirror at her soft round face, those apple cheeks, her deep brown eyes staring through me.
The answer chokes in my throat. It begs to be said aloud. I need to hear it for myself, declare it in faith.
“Well…” I struggle for the words. “I believe God has a story for each person. Mommy and Daddy prayed a long time for a baby, and you are his gift to us. I believe God has a very special plan for your life.”
I recall the second trimester of that second pregnancy, womb swelling with hope. My mother-in-law had prayed over me, that God would restore the years the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25). The pain from losing her youngest son to suicide just three years prior had left a gaping chasm in our hearts.
Do you know the thing about empty spaces? They are never so big that Jesus can’t fill them.
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. PSALM 30:11
All day long I hear one question from my child, and it rings in my tired ears—“Why?” Have you been asking the same question?
Sometimes my long interrogations of God are so repetitive and rambling that I begin to hear my own voice echo back. All the “whys, what-ifs, and maybes” clink like wishing pennies tossed into the dried-up fountain of a hollowed-out heart.
What if…what I perceive as God’s silence may actually be the muted waves of His love tones stopped at the breakers of my hardened heart? I don’t want to waste a moment more pining after what could have been or what might be with eyes and ears turned inward by discontentment.
Grace teaches me to tune my ear to His heart beat and hear the song of the Lord beginning in my life. We can learn the notes only by way of listening for his melody and then respond in harmony. The days are brief, but they are teeming with life. Let me spend them in giving thanks.
To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
PSALM 30:12 AMP
This post was originally published July 2015.