My husband and I are going to be grandparents! (Go ahead and just refer to me as “Nanny.” I’m suspecting that’s what I’ll be called since the name runs in my family. However, our little grandson can call me whatever he likes!) Our daughter and son-in-law recently shared the good news with our family. How do my husband and I feel about this? We’re ecstatic! We’re excited! We’re giddy! (Is the masculine form of “giddy” pronounced “gaddy?” If so, that better describes how my husband might feel.)
This wonderful announcement comes in the midst of wedding plans for Jake & Sarah — whom you met in the last blog. My heart is overflowing. I physically feel the happiness. God has chosen to grow our family and surround us with more people to love for a lifetime. I am grateful to Him for this. I guess you could say, “We’re in a good place.”
However, as a believer, I should always be “in a good place.” I’m held in God’s hand (John 10:28), and no one can snatch me from Him. I’m gathered in his arms ( Isaiah 40:11.) There are numerous illustrations in scripture of God’s nearness and protection, but these two are very alive to me right now as I think about nestling a newborn family member. Being in a good place isn’t about everything being good. It’s about having peace for the present and hope for the future through my relationship with Jesus Christ, whether my circumstances are good or bad from a human perspective.
In the midst of the good things we’ve experienced in the last several months, my family has also faced some challenges. Situations that rocked our emotions. Situations that made us feel helpless. However, we were still “in a good place.” We know that life has its ups and downs. God is there to guide us in both. So be encouraged. Humanly speaking, you may not be “in a good place” right now, but another day you will be. In the meantime, cherish the fact that your relationship with God isn’t reliant on a feeling. It’s reliant on the eternal security He provides.
Katherine, a character in my book, challenges her friend, Ben with the fact that as humans we tend to accept the good things that come our way from God. (Indeed, we may even toss a little prayer of appreciation His way.) However, we blame God or dislike Him when bad things come our way. Job 2:10 poses a good question. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Ecclesiastes 7:14 gives us advice for handling the bad times. “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this, God has made the one as well as the other. ” The truth is, life is filled with good and bad things since the events of Genesis 3.
I recently read about the concept of “moralistic therapeutic deism” in the book Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax. In a nutshell this thinking proposes that God created us and the world, but remains at a distance unless needed. He wants us to do good so that we can be happy and feel good about ourselves and earn a spot in heaven. Therefore, God doesn’t need to be involved in our lives unless we need Him to solve a problem that has made us unhappy. This thinking saddens me. I am thankful I don’t have to do good things to obtain Heaven. I would constantly be evaluating or second guessing my motives, intentions, and performance level. Heaven is obtained for me through Jesus, if I choose to accept the offer. (Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5. ) And, to think that I must always feel happy. Quite honestly, there are plenty of times that life makes me feel sad, uncertain, or overwhelmed. When I do, I can rely on the peace that passes human understanding that God gives me and not on myself.
Believers aren’t off the hook, though, when it comes to good works. Our works are the result of our salvation, not the source of it. If I am growing in my relationship with Christ, I will produce works that honor him, stem from God’s Word, and modeled by Christ. What about those good feelings mentioned earlier? They come to believers, but once again, they are the fruit of being rooted in Christ and His Word, and these fruits are tasty for both the individual and those around him: love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, longsuffering. and self-control.
Speaking of self-control (or lack thereof) — did I tell you I’m going to be a grandmother?