There’s something so innocent about babies. Having had four of them myself, I know how sweet it is when a baby falls asleep on your shoulder. They’re so trusting and vulnerable, all at the same time. When a baby is fussy, all you need to do is hold them to comfort them. If you can persevere through their crying (or screaming), eventually they’ll calm down and be still. They lose this as they get older. Trust me, I know. My ten-year-old is much harder to reassure than is my almost two-year-old. He needs me to reason with him and explain things logically, which can’t always be done. My baby, on the other hand, only needs to know I’m there and that I love her.
So what about us? How does this apply to our relationship with our heavenly Father? Many times I fear we are more like my ten-year-old, asking all the “What if” and “What about” questions. Yes, God, I know you’ve promised to work all things for my good, but what if the biopsy results come back positive? We often press God for answers that may never come. Why did I lose my job and haven’t been able to find a new one? Aren’t You supposed to provide for me, God? Many times we work ourselves up, becoming more and more fretful. Yet what does God tell us? Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). You see, dear one, He wants you just to stop your fretting, your kicking and screaming, your temper tantrums, and just be still in His presence. Kneel at your bedside and pray. Cry if you need to, and when you’ve spent your tears, imagine that He is there, folding you into His embrace as you lay your head on His shoulder.
Many times the Bible exhorts us to trust God and “wait patiently” before the Lord. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil desires,” Psalm 37:7 tells us. Jeremiah tells us in Lamentations 3:26, “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” In Isaiah 30:15, the Holy One of Israel says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.” Returning in that verse is actually repentance. God tells us to turn from our self-centered sinful ways and to rest, or be still before him.
We won’t always understand why things happen as they do in our lives. A lot of times we won’t understand the “why” of our circumstances. And that’s okay. During those long years in Egypt I’m sure Joseph didn’t understand why his brothers had sold him, why he was wrongly accused and thrown into prison. He must have felt like his life was being wasted away. Yet in time the purpose became clear—God had sent him there to save lives. Our lives probably won’t mirror Joseph’s purpose. It’s doubtful that any of us are going to save an entire nation from famine. But God has His purposes and plans, and we probably won’t understand why things happen to us this side of eternity. But we do know that God has promised to be with us. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28. He goes on to assure us that there is nothing at all that can separate us from God’s love: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:3839). That, my friend, is amazing love.
Like any loving parent, God our heavenly Father assures His children of His love. When we cry out to Him in fear or despair, His Word is there to answer us with words of love and comfort. Like a loving parent coming to the aid of their helpless infant, God comes to us, His helpless children. While we were dead in our sin, God sent Jesus to our rescue. And over and over, God assures us that He is there, working all things for our good. We may doubt that at times. A baby who has to receive shots may be mad at first, indignant that her parents would allow such an injustice as getting jabbed by a needle four times. But the loving parent knows that the pain is temporary and will protect her from far more serious ailments in the future. In a similar fashion, God sometimes allows temporary pain for us, His children. We may cry and scream, we may question why He would allow such a thing, but in the end, all we really need to know is that He is there and that He loves us. Don’t fret, dear one. Your heavenly Father, your “Abba,” your Daddy, is there. Be still.