Have you ever felt like something was so wonderful, so glorious, so stinking awesome that it was terrifying? Ever stood on the shoreline and watched as the tsunami of blessings grew so high that it blacked out the sun, and you weren’t sure whether to run into the water to embrace it or run for higher ground because it was just all too much?
Yeah. Well, that’s where I am right now.
My wife and I have been praying to be blessed with the opportunity to experience pregnancy and birth for over 9 years. Last fall, God decided to graciously grant that request. We’ve celebrated almost every day at this wonderful gift. But things changed for me yesterday.
I was asked to officiate a funeral. The family invited me to join them for lunch after the services. As we talked about the practical, transforming truths of God’s Word (specifically Jesus Christ and the goodness and sovereignty of God in the midst of suffering), I get a text that rocked my world like a kick to the head (or other sensitive areas where you would not really enjoyed being kicked). The text was from my beloved bride and read, “I’ve been having some contractions. Probably just Braxton ones. I’ve had like 4 in the last hour.”
“Pardon me?! You’ve been having what?! Contractions?! That’s not supposed to be happening for another 5 weeks! Good grief, 5 weeks is only 5 weeks away! I haven’t read that book Julie gave me written by Shawn Bradley or Bill Bradley or Milton Bradley or someone about how the dad should be catching the baby! She doesn’t even trust me to pick out fruit at Wal-Mart. Why does she want me to do that? I can’t even go a day without losing my keys and wallet. How am I going to keep track of a kid? There’s no way I’m ready to be a dad! Wait, I’m already a dad! Poor Jeremiah…”
And that is just a glimpse into the downward spiral of inadequacy I’ve felt in the last 36 hours. The neurosis and panic is palpable.
Here’s the thing. God has given me exactly what I asked for. I begged for this terror for almost a decade. I prayed for this tsunami. God has once again given good gifts in His time. The problem is that I’m not ready. I don’t care that I already have a four year old. I don’t care that it’s a little too late to realize the insanity of me being a dad to anyone. I don’t care that this has been one of the most joyous times in our lives. I’m not ready.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that God’s grace is sufficient. All of this panic is vital to God’s sanctifying work in me. I’m not ready, but God will prepare me. I am inadequate in so many ways, but God has graciously given me His Spirit who will make me adequate through His Word. The more I try to catch my breath the more I realize that each breath is another demonstration of God’s goodness and strength, and with each breath I should immediately cry out for help just like Peter as he sank in the waves, “Lord, save me!”
This tidal wave of God’s goodness is terrifying in the most glorious way. In preparing to experience child birth for the first time, in raising our firstborn, in seeing God build our family through adoption, in becoming a pastor, in seeing my marriage saved, in hearing the words “I do” pass the lips of my beloved, in her parents not shooting me on sight when I told them about our desire to get married after only having dated Julie for 6 weeks, in being drawn to Christ by people who had every right to hate me, and in a thousand other things that I’m too dense or near-sighted to even recognize or remember God’s grace is overwhelming.
So, with fear, trembling, and euphoria I will stand on this shoreline, watch as the towering wall of blessings rushes toward us, and prepare to drown in the unending grace of God who is able to make masterpieces out of messes.