Wednesday, August 29, 2012

clean hands and a pure heart

A little over a week after we found out about Evie's condition, I read these verses in Psalms:

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, or sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Psalms 24:3-5

I realized how much I needed to stand in the Lord's presence during this time and so these verses have become my anthem and the sieve through which I filter my thoughts.  I think each aspect of the righteous person in this verse (clean hands, pure heart, not lifted his soul to an idol, not sworn deceitfully), applies to my life with regards to my trial in some way.  

Clean hands:

I think the most obvious way to have clean hands in this trial is the choice Josh and I have made to celebrate our daughter's life no matter how short it may be.  Pregnancy termination was the first "option" given to us by my OB specialist.  We politely declined knowing that Evie is God's perfect creation and her story was written by Him long before any of us inhabited this planet.  We choose to celebrate her with the same love as her heavenly Father.  Psalm 139 speaks volumes to how precious she is to Him.

Clean hands also has the idea of being blameless.  It is the truest prayer of my heart that when I am on the other side of this trial I can honestly say I have no regrets with how I conducted myself.  I want to be blameless in the eyes of my Father.  Certainly grief and tears will be a part of it, but anger, resentment, and bitterness should not.  And so, clean hands.

A pure heart:

This one might be a little tricky but oh so important.  When I think of a pure heart I think of Job.  He had his whole life stripped away from him and yet when his wife implored him to just curse God and die, he replied, "You speak foolishly!  Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"  (Job 2:10).  What faith he had!

I think the pure heart is the one that honestly asks God why without holding anything against Him.  I think it is having the right idea on suffering and God's sovereignty and realizing His plan might look very different from yours.  It's the idea of asking for the cup to pass but accepting the task ahead if it is God's perfect will.  Questions are allowed but again, anger, resentment, and bitterness have no place.

Has not lifted his soul to an idol:

In my particular situation, I think the main idol is the medicine community.  We could potentially choose not to accept Evie's diagnosis and run ourselves ragged searching for answers and treatments and experts.  (Just for the record, there don't seem to be any treatments available).  Once Evie is born, I imagine we could have her whisked off to the NICU and sustain her on life support, essentially delaying the inevitable.  (Again, we are not even sure if this is a realistic option). 

Instead, Josh and I have decided to accept the Lord's will for our little girl.  For some reason, He has ordained her to spend very little time on this earth.  We choose to spend that time (minutes? hours?) snuggling our tiny girl and kissing her and enjoying her for as long as we can; no tubes, no drastic measures, just love.

In today's modern world where there is a "fix" for everything, its a little hard to imagine that nothing can be done for Evie but that seems to be exactly the case.  And so we will not lift our souls to an idol, but rather our Lord who loves our daughter infinitely more than we ever could.  

Psalms 20:7 - Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Has not sworn deceitfully:

In her studies on grief, Elisabeth Kubler Ross identified five stages through which people typically pass, one of which is bargaining.  The individual experiencing loss often tries to "bargain" with God promising all sorts of loyalties in a sort of trade-like agreement.  It might sound something like this, "God, if you could spare my loved one, I promise I will never ever do (fill in the blank) again!"  

But God cannot be bought.  He is the only righteous judge and won't be swooned by the empty promises of men.

I catch myself having thoughts like this from time to time - God, if you just let me keep her I promise I'll never complain ... if you let me keep her I promise I will praise you every single day ... if you could just heal her I'll never ask for anything again.  

But I am only human, prone to making more mistakes than I care to admit.  To make promises like that to the Lord would be, in essence, deceitful.  I don't want to make a deal with the Lord because I would never be able to hold up my end of the bargain.  And so my only option is acceptance.  I can most certainly tell the Lord what I would like to happen, but He is not obligated to fulfill that in any way.  Instead, my obligation is to trust Him with my life and Evie's and be confident in His perfect, albeit unknown to me, plan.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, or sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Psalms 24:3-5

Lord, give me clean hands and a pure heart.  Let me not lift my soul to an idol or swear deceitfully.  May my lips be ever praising You and may I glory in my trial knowing that your strength is manifested.  And when all is said and done, let me be blameless in Your eyes.  In Your name I pray, amen.

1 comment:

  1. [From Uncle Tom's Cabin, after Tom had been cruelly treated by his master, and after he had fallen into a powerful meditation on Jesus while sitting alone near the fire] How long Tom lay there, he knew not. When he came to himself, the fire was gone out, his clothes were wet with the chill and drenching dews; but the dread soul-crisis was past, and, in the joy that filled him, he no longer felt hunger, cold, degradation, disappointment, wretchedness. From his deepest soul, he that hour loosed and parted from every hope in life that now is, and offered his own will an unquestioning sacrifice to the Infinite.

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