Every year we celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It is a day of unspeakable joy, but also a return to darkness. This lovely young lady was born 3 months early, terrifyingly early, weighing only 1 lb. 5 oz. They called her a micro-preemie. She was in the NICU for 3 months hooked up to a ventilator, covered in all manner of tubes and wires, connected to monitors, and deprived of human touch instead of being nurtured in my womb where she belonged.
In those early NICU days, God surrounded me with patient people. Nurses, respiratory therapists, neonatologists, physical therapists, and lactation consultants who responded to all my questions and worries and kindly instructed me on the best ways to care for my fragile baby at each stage of her growth and development.
That experience taught me a great deal of patience. Reflecting on it reminds me of a devotion written by Rev. Dr. Murray:
Sometimes the strength of our confession is measured by patience on our part.… Sometimes being silent is the best way of bearing the cross. It takes a kind of endurance.
But I have a nasty habit of speaking to others out of impatience! I want healing to progress more quickly, for people to see the plan, to get on board with the program and cooperate already!
I imagine our Lord felt a sort of righteous impatience with his disciples at times; frustration that they struggled to “get it.” But he still dealt with them gently, and allowed events to unfold on his Father’s timeline with quiet patience.
Thanks be to God that he treats me with that same patience and mercy! He does not demand that I grow faster, make more progress, or cooperate with His will. Instead, my Savior reaches into my darkness and suffering, takes me by the hand, and shows me again and again that events are unfolding just as they should. He works in those times of uncertainty, doubt, and fear to teach me quiet patience and give me hope.