My Jesus I Love Thee?
My Jesus I love Thee, I know thou art mine;
for thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou -
if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.
Being raised in the Church of Christ, I had probably sung that hymn hundreds of times, and yet , six years ago, I found myself on a February Sunday morning with those words that were so bitter in my mouth that I could barely utter them.
In 1998, after trying for nine months, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child. All of our excitement, hopes and dreams were quickly dashed to the ground when we lost that baby due to a miscarriage at ten weeks. My doctor had diagnosed it as a blighted ovum - our baby had simply stopped developing. But we were told that there was no reason for us to not try again. So we did!
It took a year, but eventually we were pregnant again! I had a normal pregnancy, a long and hard labor, and eventually delivered an 11-pound baby boy via c-section. We were in complete shock over his size but believed this was a blessing in abundance after our first loss
A year and a half later, we found out that once again we were pregnant. I was thrilled at the idea of a new member in our family, but completely frightened at the concept of caring for a newborn and an active two year old at the same time. Those fears and anxieties were short lived, however, when once again a miscarriage took our baby. This time the doctor could not give us a medical reason, only that it was a "fluke thing
It was after that loss in 2002 when I found myself sitting in the pew at church, with the words of that hymn just stuck in my throat. At the same time I was forcing back tears, just praying they wouldn't fall. You see, I wasn't just crying over yet another child we had lost, but I was crying over the fact that I couldn't bring myself to sing those few words:
"...if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now."
Everything within me was screaming, "Praise through! You can do this. You know you are His child and He loves you. You know that you love Him, tell Him!" But at that very moment in time, I couldn't. I was tired and I was angry, and I really wanted that anger to be directed at God. He was the only one that it made sense to be angry at. And right then and right there in that church service, I did not want to tell Him that I loved Him. And that was what was breaking my heart.
In the weeks that followed, I became too cynical for my own good, and my anger slowly found it's voice. Being a stay at home mom to our young son found me many opportunities for my own one-on-one conversations with God. I decided that if He was going to get so personal and interfere with my life, He had better have a good reason why and He had better fill me in on it! It was during one of our many conversations, I found myself at the point where all I could do was to cry out to Him, "Why? I just want to know why?" I heard Him simply say to me, "Look to Job."
Please don't misunderstand. It's not like I heard an audible voice from the heavens, and this was the first time I can honestly say that I knew it was Him. But when this passing, fleeting thought came into my head, I knew it was God speaking to me. And how did I respond? I laughed. I mean, come on! This is Job, the man with the never ending whine!! What in the world would Job possibly have to say to me?
Romans 15:4 - Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next.
I remember the first time I had ever read the book of Job - boy, did it bug me! Don't get me wrong, I had sympathy for Job and the tragedies that he went through during the first two chapters of the book. But all I was getting out of the rest of it was that he had a few "friends" (I use that term loosely but it's God's word, not my own) who came to comfort him and help him through his trying times, and all I could see Job doing was continuously whining, "Woe is me, woe is me!" I was just not getting him at all. And for awhile, I would often think of the book of Job and just sigh heavily whever it was referred to in a sermon.
The thing is, the book of Job is probably one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. Until you've lived a little bit of it, it's virtually impossible to understand it properly...I would read commentaries on Job, look at their analysis, and say to myself, "This author has never lived this thing." It wasn't until I began to live through some hard things that the book of Job began to open to me.*
*Bob Sorge - Pain, Perplexity & Promotion