Even before my son was born, I knew I’d be learning a lot of lessons in the early days of motherhood. I’ve been surprised and humbled by the ways The Lord has been using this new stage of life to teach me more about His heart for us. One evening a few days ago, Jacob woke up from his nap crying. It had been a few hours since he had last eaten, and he awoke so hungry. In the five minutes it took us to warm a bottle for him, his cries grew louder and louder. Daryl was so lovingly trying to comfort him while the bottle was in the warmer, and something he said struck me. I heard him whisper to our son, “Jacob, if only you knew that your food is coming. I wish you knew what I’m preparing for you; you’ll have it in just a few minutes.” Isn’t that how we, as children of God, so often approach our heavenly Father? I thought about all the times I impatiently cry to The Lord, suddenly realizing that I desperately need something, yet failing to trust that He is going to provide it. Jacob is nearly four months old, and not once have I ever failed to feed him when he was hungry. Yes, sometimes it takes a few minutes to prepare for a feeding, but never have his needs gone unmet. In this moment, taking my husband’s words to heart, I understood my God better.
As a new mother, I am constantly tending to the needs of my baby, and I don’t think this will ever change. His needs will change, and his dependence on me will be altered by the seasons of life, but my commitment to caring for him won’t. I’ll always be there, and he is learning to trust me. The desire of my heart is to love him so fully and so well that he knows I won’t ever intentionally fail him. How our heavenly Father longs that we will seek to know Him in the same way. He is our Abba Father, our Savior, the One who made the oceans roar and the stars shine. He longs for us to lay our dreams, burdens, and needs at His feet and trust that He’ll meet them and accomplish them in ways far beyond our understanding. His promises of faithfulness and provision are so evident in His Word. But how often do I forget them? We are engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) yet often we become so consumed by our needs and desires that we fail to lean on the One who never changes, the One who has promised that He will always be there. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is The Lord, and He changes not (Malachi 3:6). My needs change constantly, but my faithful God doesn’t. He made me, and He promises to carry me and sustain me (Isaiah 46:4). If we trust Him fully, He promises He’ll be there when your child is sick, when you lose a parent, when your marriage hits a rough patch, and when you’re not sure what tomorrow holds. He’ll be there through anything and everything.
I’ve also come to understand that my natural inclination to rely fully on The Lord is very much dependent on the depth of my relationship with Him. I’ve learned this with my son. Because he is so young, he cries every time he needs food. But as he matures, he won’t cry when he’s hungry anymore because he’ll know that I will provide his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He’ll trust me so completely to provide meals for him that he won’t ever worry about being fed. As a new Christian years ago, I would so easily be overcome with worry and doubt because my faith was small. Now, I find that my reliance on Christ and my trust in Him have grown so much deeper as my faith has matured. There are little things I used to constantly worry about that no longer consume me. My God has carried my burdens so many times that I don’t worry about those things anymore. I know He’ll take care of them. But I still fail Him every day. I still doubt Him at times, as if He hasn’t proven to me that I can trust Him. I still get impatient, wanting Him to reveal everything to me right now. When I’m earnestly seeking Him and bringing the desires and burdens of my heart before Him, I find myself frustrated when I have to wait on Him to guide me and show me. But in those moments, The Lord is telling me the same thing my husband whispered to our son, “if you only knew that I am here. I wish you knew what I’m preparing for you; you’ll have it in just a few minutes.” If I’ve learned anything about our sweet Savior, it’s this – He more than meets my needs. He meets them with abundance. He never leaves me hungry, but always fills my soul completely.
I want Jacob to know that his needs are being met whether it appears that way to him or not. As his mother, I want the best for him. And the best takes time sometimes. This is also The Lord’s desire for us. When I look back on my life and consider requests I’ve laid before God, I can see the wisdom in His answers and the mercy in His timing. He has provided for me in the best of ways. He has met all of my needs. And sometimes He requires my patience. Watching Jacob learn patience while his bottle was in the warmer was hard, but it was a good reminder for me. While I knew he wanted instant satisfaction, it wouldn’t be what was best for him because his bottle would be cold and I know that he likes it to be warm. So it is with our heavenly Father, Who designed us to rely on Him for everything, trusting that He has our best interests in mind. My son doesn’t know it, but meeting his need the moment he cried wouldn’t have brought him happiness. In the same way, God doesn’t meet all of our needs the moment we cry to Him because He knows us. He sees the bigger picture, and He lovingly refuses to give us anything but the best. The Lord may not answer my prayers the way I want Him to, but He always answers them the way I need Him to. Because He knows my needs. Experiencing this lesson over and over has fine-tuned my trust in Him. As my needs have changed, I’ve learned to trust Him more and more because He has yet to fail me. I want my precious baby to learn the same thing about me and his dad, and also about His heavenly Father. Right now his needs are simple and physical. He needs me to change him, to hold him, and to support his head while he eats. In a few months, he’ll be able to hold his own bottle and support his head so well that he can crawl. And after that, he’ll need me to help him take his first steps and learn how to sing the alphabet song until he can do it all by himself. And in the blink of an eye, he’ll need help with homework, a ride to baseball practice, and assistance with college applications. There will be so many unknowns along the way, and the only way to embrace the unseen is to run into the arms of the One who died in our place. We won’t always understand what He is doing, but we have to trust Him. Through all of life, I want my son to be so assured of The Lord’s love for Him that he isn’t afraid to place complete trust in Him, even when it’s hard. I want his reliance on Jesus to permeate his thoughts so thoroughly that He doesn’t doubt the goodness of God when the hard times come. I’m doing my best to teach him this every day. My abilities are limited, but my God’s are not.
Since Jacob was born, I’ve been whispering the same thing to him every day. In our sweetest moments and when I’m rocking him to sleep, I tell him, “Out of all the babies in the world, I would have chosen you.” To know that The Lord God whispers the same to us every day is overwhelming. Even when I am unaware, He is speaking this truth into my soul. He tells me over and over, “I have chosen you. One day you’ll see everything I have prepared for you. Just trust Me.” Just as it brings me joy to see the trust my son is learning to have in me, it blesses the heart of God when we unashamedly and wholeheartedly depend upon Him. His Word reminds us that the mountains shake before Him and the rocks cry out His name. Even the wind and the waves receive their commands from Him and obey, because not once has He ever led them astray. He has chosen you, He has carried you, and He will sustain you. You can trust Him.