Trying Times

“So have you heard anything new about Evangelle?”

It seems I now answer this question multiple times a day. I’m glad people care; I really am. And I certainly prefer for people to express their concern instead of ignoring what we’re going through, but still, I’m beginning to cringe inwardly each time someone asks about our progress.

Of course it’s not the question I dislike; it’s the answer I’m currently required to give that’s the problem. Unfortunately, we really don’t know anything new aside from the fact that the month of March is almost gone and Evangelle is still on the other side of the world.

These are the times that try a woman’s soul. 

I wish I could tell you that I’m taking it like a champ, but the truth is I’m not. Each morning when I wake up and realize we didn’t receive an email from the Embassy during the night, I feel like a dark cloud has enveloped my soul. While working on Evangelle’s lifebook this week I realized that I’m not just struggling with the wait, I’m also grieving the time with her that we’ve lost. She was 4 months old when we first saw her face. She’ll be 10 months old at the end of this month.

The realization that the first year of her life is nearly gone has been weighing heavily on my heart, and it’s a fight to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord and not become overwhelmed with grief. Right now, I’m thankful for God’s promise to be near those who are broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. I desperately need to be near to Him.

Yesterday, God provided me with much-needed encouragement through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s teaching on the fearlessness of the Proverbs 31 woman. If you’re also fighting for joy, I know this will be a help to you too…  

I know that time is short, and eternity is long. How foolish it is to waste the little bit of time I have here on this earth pining and moaning and resenting and resisting the very things God wants to bring into my life to help me be like Jesus, to help fit me for eternity!

…One of the mandates of the gospel is to be people of joy. It’s not an option. It’s a mandate. First Thessalonians 5, verse 16, “Rejoice always.” Psalm 5, verse 11, “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” “Serve the LORD with gladness!” Psalm 100 tells us (v. 2).

…Now, we’re not talking about shallow, hollow, cheap joy that is dependent on what’s going on around us, but we’re talking about that deep, abiding joy that is rooted in the gospel. It’s rooted in God. It’s rooted in the truth of who He is, and that comes to mind as we look at these two verses in Proverbs 31 that we’ve been examining.

Proverbs 31, verse 21, “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” And then verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” The New American Standard there says, “She smiles at the future,” and another translation says, “She shall rejoice in time to come.”

That word laugh, “she laughs at the time to come,” as it is in my English Standard Version, that word means “to laugh in pleasure, to make merry, to play.” It has the thought of being carefree. Now, it’s not because the woman has no problems. It’s because she knows to cast her burdens on the Lord, so she doesn’t let those burdens stay on her.

She’s not frivolous. She’s not silly, but she walks with dignity through the trials and challenges of life. She laughs in pleasure as she thinks about the future. She is free from fear of the future. She looks to the future with confidence, with hope, and with joy regardless of its challenges.

Here are a few phrases that commentators have used in talking about this woman laughing at the time to come. One says, “She has a calm anticipation of the future.” Another said, “She happily looks forward to the future.”

…This woman has a calm anticipation of the future. I think that could relate to the immediate future, the circumstances that lie right in front of her. They’re staring at her, the bills, a son or daughter who’s getting ready to marry someone who is not in the faith. It’s an immediate challenge in the immediate future, the days immediately ahead.

Then there’s the longer-term future. There is that which is known about it—we think we know—and there’s that which is unknown about it. Both can cause us to be anxious and joyless.

The woman we’re reading about in Proverbs 31, the woman of strength and dignity, has a calm anticipation of the future because she trusts the wise and loving providence of a Heavenly Father who cares, who is able to control the future, who does control the future, the life to come, not to be feared for the woman of faith, the woman of strength and dignity who fears the Lord and who knows Jesus Christ.

Listen to or read more of Nancy’s teaching on this topic in her current series
Facing the Future with Joy.