Today we celebrated Hudson’s 4th birthday! Wow, what an energetic and vivacious bundle of joy he has become. Here’s a devotional story originally written when our little Hudson was just 5 months old (published 8/9/2009):
Have you ever heard that little babies can be great teachers? I never have. However, just several days ago I learned a profound lesson from my tiny munchkin, Hudson. Perhaps this article could be titled: Hudson’s Lesson for Daddy. Of course, Hudson didn’t pull out a whiteboard and some dry erase markers, and pass out a workbook to his Daddy. However, Hudson was used by the Lord to dramatically teach his sometimes “thick-skulled” Papa a much needed course.
Over the past fourteen hot summer days, Stephanie and I have found ourselves often anxious, worried, and stressed. Our housing situation has been somewhat “tight” to say the least. With the arrival of Hudson, we soon realized that 450 sq ft. is quite cozy. With a crib, changing table, swing, amongst other pieces of furniture and hundreds of school books we knew we eventually had to do something. Adding to this, our wonderful little carriage/garage apartment is attached to a tremendously larger house – a house (along with our place) that is for sale at a dramatically reduced price. Obviously a “plan B” needed to be in the works.
For several months we had been looking at various options, but with the upcoming semester of seminary drawing near, we became much more fervent in our approach to the situation. We had tried moving mid-term before, and had no real desire to repeat the process. I wonder why?
We searched and looked on various listings, but the first week or so went by without finding anything feasible. However, the second week proved to be a roller coaster. On Monday we were presented with one possibility, yet found out later the location was somewhat unsafe, and too far from our church and my place of work. A day later another option came up for on-campus housing. With great excitement we jumped on this opportunity, and believed that this was truly the answer to our prayers… several days later we found out that they would probably give the place to someone else. So with the ups and downs of emotion and unrest we kept searching and praying.
Shortly thereafter we heard about another opportunity that sounded like a perfect fit for our needs. The location was just a couple of miles from our church, and nearly an equal distance to school. With much anticipation we interviewed for this particular residence, and walked away from the meeting very hopeful that it would work out. We knew the folks were going out of town and we wouldn’t hear anything for a little while, but we really prayed that something might pan out very soon.
The day after this meeting, I was surprised to find myself so anxious and worried that this new option might not work out I could hardly find any peace. I prayed throughout the day for the Lord to take away my anxiety and give me assurance of His control – yet the battle in my heart raged on. In the afternoon I called up Stephanie to tell her how I felt, and she promptly told me she was in the same war with anxiety. That evening I arrived home from work still worried and restless, so we again prayed for the Lord to give us peace. We had enough calm to get some rest that night, but at sunrise the worry came back. All throughout the following day the unrest and anxiety continued. Questions like the following swarmed my mind, “Would we be chosen for this new residence?” “Was there something I said in the interview that might have ruined our chances for this position?” “What would happen if we don’t get this new place to live in?” “Where would we go, what would we do?”
Time for a Lesson, Young Man
It is funny how I continually have to learn the same type of lessons over and over again. Yet in my often immature state, I am grateful the Lord has the patience to persistently teach and instruct me in this walk of faith.
After three days of nearly constant fear and anxiety, I arrived home after a long day’s work. As has become customary, I usually find Stephanie working feverishly over the stove making some tasty morsels for supper, and Hudson napping peacefully in his crib. This evening was not unlike any other. I walked in the door, gave Stephanie a big hug and kiss, and then tip-toed in the bedroom to check on our little guy. As I drew near to the crib, I noticed that he was just waking up. After rubbing his eyes with his tiny fists, he looked up right into my eyes and gave me one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. It was as if Christmas morning had come and I had just given him everything he wanted. The only difference about this case was I was the only thing wanted. He just wanted to be with Daddy.
I scooped his cuddly little body up into my arms and gave him an ole’ bear hug and kissed his smooshy cheeks. It is hard not to do that every second of the day. We sang a little song together, and I told him how much I loved him… “more than anything else in the world.” Just then, Stephanie called to me from the kitchen saying that she had something she wanted me to quickly take care of. So, without thinking twice I laid Hudson down on our soft bed and stepped into the next room.
From Smiles to Tears
Within seconds of my departure I heard Hudson begin to wale and cry. As soon as my shadow had left the room he immediately began crying out for his Daddy. Of course, I was only 10 feet away from him, but because he could not physically see me or be held by me, it was just as if I was completely gone. I hurried back into the room and promised my little buddy that I would be right back. Again, two seconds later he began to wale and cry even louder. Once more, I came over to him, calmed him down, and explained in words he does not yet understand that I had to do something important, but would be “right back”. He was safe because I was near and there was no reason to cry.
I quickly finished the chore that needed to be done, and stepped back into our bedroom to find Hudson still crying profusely and his eyes blurred with a fountain of tears. As I wiped his little tear droplets from his eyes and caressed the top of his head, the Lord suddenly taught me a lesson through the cries and tears of Hudson.
Through the Lord’s mercy, I realized that I too had been acting just like Hudson a moment ago. Every time I stepped into the room where Hudson could visibly see me, he was immediately at peace. However, as soon as I left, he quickly went from smiles to tears. In a similar way, I had found myself over the last couple of weeks searching and waiting for God’s guidance, direction, and provision, yet for all of my prayers I was still waiting to see what he had in store for us. What was my response? Unfortunately, I let my heart be filled with anxiety and fear – fear that God was somehow not aware of my situation or need. In this period of waiting my thoughts were not on God’s present working, but on His seemingly current absence from my problem.
Our Heavenly Father
Yet just as was true for Hudson and his earthly father, my Heavenly Father never really left me unprotected, unsafe, or unloved. Even though I had to temporarily remove myself from Hudson’s line of vision, I never left him – I was just in the other room. In even a much more profound and powerful way, God is always with you and I – even when we do not immediately see His hand at work in our lives. Hudson taught me that there was no need to be filled with anxiety, for God is always near, and He knows every need we have. Yes, I still pray that the Lord is pleased to bless us with this new housing opportunity, but now with great faith that He is always right there watching over me, even when I cannot feel Him wiping away my tears of stress or fear.
That evening as I pondered what God had done in the past and how He had always been ever-present in my times of need, all the stress, fear, and anxiety of the past two weeks suddenly melted away. In place of these, the Lord gave peace and reassurance to my heart that I could trust Him and wait on His omnipotent and all-wise hand. God’s answer may not come when I expect or in a manner anticipated, yet it will always be according to His plan, and result in His glory. God has always proven Himself faithful, why should I doubt Him now?
Psalm 46:1-2 ~ “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. SELAH.
“Psalm 62:1-2 ~ “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
In Christ Alone,