I Loved the Time but I Hated the Moment

I heard a friend say the other day how glad they were to get to know God in the deeply intimate way they have in recent days. Curiously enough, these recent days have been quite a roller coaster of doctors visits, diagnoses, and treatments. And yet, as they talked about the struggle of the moment, they were filled with emotion at the way God has been made known to them in this time.

It’s a common tale. When we begin to walk with God we begin to discover how close God is to us. When we face the rough patches in our journey and we trust God to be close by and present, we discover he is. Even in those moments, our relationship with God can become so rich.

I remember the time when our son, Andrew, was born. Jan was in labor 13 hours with little progress being made. Even worse was the fact that with every contraction Andrew’s heart rate would drop. The doctor gave Jan some drugs to try to move things along, but all it did was cause Andrew’s heart rate to plummet. Soon I was asked to leave the room and put on scrubs. I came back in and Jan was lying with her head at a downward angle, an oxygen mask was on her face, and we were off to have an emergency c-section. Those who know our family know things turned out just fine. But, I hated that moment.

I hated seeing Jan on that gurney with a mask on. I hated thinking about what might be happening to our child. I hated the feeling of hyper-activity that permeated that room. But I wouldn’t trade that time.

I loved the time because Jan and I went through it together. I loved the time because we had a chance to hold each other’s hands and encourage each other. I loved the time because in the end there was a real blessing – both in that new-born baby and in our marriage relationship. I loved the time, but I hated the moment.

I am currently reading a book by Francis Chan – “Forgotten God” – it’s a book about the Holy Spirit. I like Chan. He and his family have a great faith and he just believes what God says and finds life in the call to serve. He touches on this idea of how the most difficult moments provide the greatest times of intimacy. It was true for Jan and I in that delivery room, and it is true for any of us when we live by faith and follow Jesus where he leads us. Chan calls this the “precious gift of intimacy” given to us by the Holy Spirit.

When you say yes to Jesus, when you are willing to follow him, when you go where God calls you to go, you will find yourself faced with moments you’d rather not deal with. It maybe disease issues. It may be hardship that comes as a result of giving up the security of your job. It may be the struggle to overcome the obstacles being set before you. It will most certainly be a moment you’d be glad not to face. You will hate the moment, but, if you will let God work and give yourself into His hands, you will love the time.

Those moments are ones where we begin to experience the “precious gift of intimacy” with God. Can it happen without the hardship? Certainly. Jan and I have had many great moments without the hardship. But, the greater question is this – when those hated moments come, will you give yourself over to God? Will you let God love you through it all? Will you accept this precious gift God wants to give you? If you do, you may still hate the moment, but you’ll love the time.

What are you facing right now? Are you giving yourself over to God? Are you letting him love you? Are you experiencing this precious gift of intimacy?

Holy high-five to you,
Mike

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4 responses to “I Loved the Time but I Hated the Moment

  1. The first time I ever knew God was in a moment like that. I’ve come to believe that God walks with us and shares with us but until we look to Him, He is our silent partner allowing us to walk on our own but always ready to pick us up and steady us.

  2. I remember that crazy day! Everything was different from what was supposed to happen (according to the books, childbirth classes, and wisdom from other moms). God had a different plans for Andrew (and us) that day. I am still thankful for the many ways He blessed us, and for the awesome team of medical professionals who helped us through it all. On a lighter note, I will be eternally grateful to the nurse who, with much care, scraped the surgical tape (from the epidural) off my back the next day. I wish I could remember her name, but God knows who she is. May she be blessed in some special way today!

  3. Like you I have found that people seem to seek intimacy with God during difficult times and the most mature Christians I know all seem to have endured some kind of deep pain. Working in the inner city in a community with an extremely high murder rate, I have gotten to know people who truly call on God with ever breath. They have learned to pray without ceasing and sense God’s ever present spirit with them more fully than I can even fathom. I have a theory. I think much of the spiritual decline within the suburban church is the result of our attempt to shut out pain and suffering. We pretend that somehow our Christian faith protects us from harm. In a way, we cut ourselves off from the very thing that makes us grow and mature . I believe that if the church would walk in solidarity with the poor and those who are suffering, we would breath new life into the church. Right now it is a theory but I hope some day to find churches willing to step out of their comfort zones and prove me wrong.

    • Do you mean sort of like Jesus did? … That surely couldn’t work, could it?

      And yes – I agree with your theory in that we have found God’s blessing in the suburbs. And many think that if others would just work more while they pray, they too would find what we have. It’s not that we try to shut out pain, we’re just in a better place and we’re praying the God will get others here as well. No one likes me when I tell them that it could be them to whom Jesus is saying “Sell all your possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow me”. The look in their eyes says, “Surely not I, Lord”. And they just don’t realize what they’re missing because they think they have what really matters – comfort and security.

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