I can’t think of a better example of potential than a new baby. Most parents when they find out they’re expecting, whether for the first or 8th time, go through a gamut of emotions and imagine all the possibilities of what their new addition will mean for their lives.
We found out April we’re expecting (our 3rd son,) due the first week of December, and as we pondered the potential the impact this new life will have on us, I started thinking of all the reasons our lives couldn’t work with our new reality of another baby: We have a small 2 bedroom apartment, where will we put another child? How am I supposed to take care of 3 children and keep working? We just bought our car in February, and I don’t think I can fit another car seat in the back… I gave God every reason why I couldn’t handle this and explained the potential here was for disaster.
In a moment of clarity from within the whirlwind of pregnancy, I realized my default response to potential in general is treat it like a bomb, scanning it for hazards, imagining and hedging against the worst case scenario. I am then caught by debilitating anxiety as I replay over and over how I may be affected .This makes me a great friend to have around in case of the zombie apocalypse, but not so much in any real life situation where a little hope and a smidge of faith are required to maintain a sense of peace while adjusting to what potential will actually release.
For the last 3 months, I’ve been held captive to this paralyzing effect. Beyond the new baby, my family had the potential for homelessness, joblessness, and losing our community looming over us, bearing down with it’s full weight so often, I was reduced to tears and trembling, All practical actions were quickly accomplished, leaving me wringing sweat from my hands as we just waited for a phone call, for a miracle.
Astonishingly, they came. The phone calls, the provision, the miracle of the tangible manifestation of grace all came, like giant hands throwing the boulders I was certain would crush us clear out of view.
I now sit in perfect peace, with all fear subsided for the first time since I last sat at the laptop to share with all of you, looking at my swollen stomach, daring to dream about my new family dynamic because of something a friend who recently visited me at work said: “What if all of this happening, and Satan trying to screw you over, was being used by God to give you everything you needed?” She was paraphrasing Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” a verse I’ve heard hundreds of times since I’ve become a believer, but this time, I heard it differently:
“And we know that God uses potential, for good or evil, as an opportunity to show off His lavish love for His children, those who’ve been called to the work of His glorious kingdom.”
God is not afraid of potential wreaking havoc in my life. He’s not afraid of the “what if’s” because He is secure in His position: I am His, and He acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. (Isa 64:4) Do I suddenly have no concerns and everything I want? No, but I have all that I need and more than I even dared to ask for, because my potential for disaster was His opportunity to reveal His love and show His power and faithfulness.
I understand why this would be a hard word to accept, because so many of us are dealing with very real loss, and what seemed like God not even showing up, let alone maximizing the opportunity to do good. I think of a couple friends who lost their lives to disease this year, I think of that question, “is no where safe,” we all have after witnessing what happened in Las Vegas, I feel your frustration and pain and still, I would encourage you to look for the giant hands holding you together, moving you always toward comfort, toward peace, toward love and joy regardless of what the potential of your circumstances are, and receive what He has for you, whether it be an extravagant display of power or the tender, participatory mercy Christ has on those suffering. Praying we all get to that place. Thanks for taking this journey with me.