I find it the hardest to believe God loves me when it’s the middle of the night and my baby isn’t sleeping well. Isn’t that silly? There are much harder things about my life than sleeplessness, but during the day I can convince myself that it’s all ok. Like, I’m going to work harder, we’ll all get our act together and everything will be fine. We can take care of ourselves. But in the middle of the night, when the baby’s up for like the tenth time, and I’ve just been praying and praying that she’ll sleep and she’s not, in my exhaustion I can’t cover for myself anymore. The real state of my heart rises up in the questions I can no longer quell: “God, don’t you love me? Why don’t you do something? Do you really care?”
A friend of mine told me recently that instead of only asking God to do things for her now, she asks him to be with her. That really struck me, because that actually deals with the very root of the question. The circumstances change, but what I really need is for God to be with me. Only then am I safe, only there am I loved, truly and perfectly. I’ve always loved the part of the Christmas story where it says that the child’s name will be Immanuel, God with us. Isn’t that what our hearts are constantly crying out for? “God, where are you in all this?” But in the incarnation, God left everything, all the riches of heaven, all the glory of his status. God made himself man to be with us.
I still want God to do his magical thing and make my baby sleep without me having to put forth any effort. I still want to feel safe and in control and never have any fears about the future. I want my friend’s cancer to go away. I want my other friend’s depression and anxiety to be less debilitating. I want all the little kids to be safe from the people that want to hurt them. I want wars to cease. I want things on earth to be as they are in heaven. I still ask God to do things and get confused and sad when they don’t happen.
I don’t know the answer to the question of why God does what he does, when he does. But the incarnation gives me a clear answer to the deep question of my heart, the “where are you, God? Don’t you love me?” I long to have that answer made real in my heart.
God is with us. God is with us. God is with us.