Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


A Father’s Love

There’s this song on the Christian radio station I’ve always kind of disliked. But this morning it hit me in an entirely different way.

It’s a song by Plumb called “In My Arms,” and it starts with this verse:

Your baby blues, so full of wonder
Your curly cues, your contagious smile
And as I watch, you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

I find the song mildly annoying because it always stirs that little piece of discontent in my heart, that piece of me that won’t stop shouting, begging, pleading for a baby of my own. That piece of me that is always there but which I can usually keep pretty quiet.

On the surface this song is all about a parent’s love and her desperate desire to keep her child safe in a totally messed up and fallen world.

But today, as I was driving in the middle of a heavy rainstorm on I-10, it spoke something different to me.

Instead of changing the station when the song came on (yes, I normally do), I listened to the words. And in the chorus I got a mental picture I wasn’t expecting.

Knowing clouds will rage and
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe
In my arms

I had a quick thought first that changed my perspective. Mothers can hope to protect their children, but no amount of holding them in their human arms will truly keep them safe. But we are safe in the arms of God. I believe that fiercely and I needed to hear it today.

As I pictured God as a loving Father, which is how Jesus encouraged us to think about God, I saw him holding me through this current storm. And I felt this great relief. An unburdening I can’t really express.

In another line in the song, she sings, “My heart is torn just in knowing / You’ll someday see / The truth from the lies.”

And I wonder–does God think that about us? Does he watch us as children, knowing yet dreading the decline of our innocence?

And he [Jesus] said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2)

Does he look at the landscape that is before us and grieve over the consequences of living in a fallen world, the storms that will rage in our lives?

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Matthew 18:7)

He knows the storms will roll in, and when, and how hard, and why. He knows that we can’t see through the darkness to the other side of it or to what glorious future he has planned for us. Does he feel sorrow over it? Over this human mess we’ve made that we’re slogging through in this world by our own choices?

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

I’m not saying that infertility or other pain we struggle with in this life is a consequence of personal sins in our lives, as I don’t think it is. I think there are consequences to sin that are specific and affect the person who sins, but I also think there are general consequences of sin, of living in a fallen world. These consequences strike who they may.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And as God watches, and sympathizes with us, he is also working these most painful and most challenging trials for good in our lives. Not that the bad things are themselves good. But that good will come of it. And so he gives us hope to endure the trial.

For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I love that God can speak to me even in the midst of a song that I didn’t like. And that he can use someone else’s words to give me a picture of who he is and how truly, madly, deeply he loves me as his own child. As much as I know God is indeed working through infertility in my life for my good and for his glory, I don’t think he intended or desired for me to go through this trial. But since he knew it was coming, he’s making me better for it.


Can I Claim That?

People talk all the time about believing the promises of God in our life. I find defining the promises really difficult. There are promises I want to believe are for me. But how do I know that something in scripture is a permanent promise that applies to everyone and not just a promise that applies to certain someones?

There are some I have no doubt about. For example, Romans 8:28: “For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

I love God. So that promise must apply to me. (I sometimes struggle to remember it, and I often have to remind myself of it, but it’s a promise for me without any doubt.)

But then you read about other promises that are made in scripture. Here’s one I want to claim for myself, but how can I be sure it’s for me and not just for the people who were there?

“You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.” Exodus 23: 25-26

And I want this one:

“Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.” Deuteronomy 6:3

Or this one:

He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals. . . . You will be blessed above all nations of the earth. None of your men or women will be childless, and all your livestock will bear young.” Deuteronomy 7: 13-14

And I’m not even asking for any sheep or goats to bear young.

I don’t have an answer. This is something I’ve been pondering for many months. In fact, I’ve wondered for many years what the promises are in the Bible. There isn’t any set rule that I can see. Like, if it’s written in Psalms it’s for you but not if it’s given by Moses. Nothing like that.

So I pray over these verses. And I ask God to let them apply to my life and to the lives of the many men and women I’ve come across through blogging or other means who are also struggling through infertility. And I keep asking for clarity and guidance.

Today, as I read those verses in Deuteronomy 7, I thought it was clear for a moment. Those promises are clearly made to the children of Israel.

But could I claim the promises to Israel? Am I like a child of Israel? I’m not descended from Israel (at least, not as far as I know). But I have been adopted into the family of God by belief in Christ Jesus and his work for me. Does that entitle me to the promises given to Israel? I don’t know, but I’d like to think so. (I like this perspective on the subject.)

When I google the promises in the Bible, many lists come up. So I clicked on one. This is one of the promises listed:

“‘For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:17.

Some clearly claim this promise for themselves, even though it is prefaced with “This is the message the Lord gave concerning Israel and Judah” (30:4).

I realize this is pretty convoluted. I’m still trying to figure it out myself, so maybe I’m not the best one to be writing on this subject. But I’ll leave you with this verse (which I’ll be meditating on and trying to better understand over the next few days for sure):

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me [Paul] and Silas and Timothy–was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes.’ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:19-20

And I will say, “Amen” to those promises as I read them–just in case they are meant for me.