We are beautifully unprepared for changes in life. We live vicariously with the allusions of control through our planners, to-do lists, social media profiles, Google, and all the trappings of apps for any problem we might have. Often, our most remarkable transformations happen when we lose the allusion of control in the midst of a life-altering change.
My wife, Robyn, and I are weeks out from expecting our first child, a baby girl. When it comes to these changes, I try to go into an extremely practical mode. Is the nursery set? Can we secure the car seat? Even now, I’m finalizing the communication plan for when Robyn goes into labor. All these details probably reveal my desire for some semblance of control while recognizing that I have very little.
It’s a precarious time to prepare to parent, let alone parent a daughter. Robyn and I have discussed the news headlines and the ongoing conflicts in culture appearing right before our eyes. I know we’re not alone, but there’s an enormous amount of fear and anxiety for the future.
Added to this preparation, I have the unique insight on current affairs from a pastoral and theological background. It’s a privilege and joy to think deeply about how the Gospel transforms the world around us. The temptation in exploring this field of study is cynicism. As much as theologians and pastors study grace, forgiveness, hope, and faith, there’s an acute awareness of sin, depravity, pride, greed, and injustice. The latter can lead to cynicism. I wish I could turn off the constant conversation in my brain, but it goes without saying that to understand how God is at work in the world you have to recognize the darkness.
Recently, my mind started running on the hamster wheel of raising a baby girl in this dark time in the world. Cynicism rose to the surface. We talk about living in the hope of the “now, but not yet” in Jesus, but frequently the “now” seems louder than the “not yet.” In this cycle of thoughts, I heard these lyrics:
You’re the only thing that’s true
In this whole world of black eyed blues
And disillusioned points of view
And I won’t let go
She Said by Jon Foreman
These words come from Jon Foreman’s song “She Said.” Since hearing it, I have played it on repeat. The song can be described as a rebellious hope. That specific line linked together my own disillusioned view with knowing what’s actually true. Disillusionment and cynicism lead you away from reality. You can have a predisposition to only seeing the wrong without a blind eye to the beautiful and right.
What makes me listen to this song over and over again is looking for the beautiful truth. It starts with the simple things. I experience a miracle every day when I feel baby girl kick inside of Robyn. Both of us are overwhelmed by the people who not only support us, but already love this little girl who will enter the world in a few weeks. What is this? This is grace. This is hope. This is a reminder of Jesus and the Gospel.
Love is the antidote to cynicism.
We can fall into the trap of looking for a cosmic solution to the problems of the world. That will come, and we should pursue it now. Yet, let’s not miss the love around us right now. That’s why community matters. God created us to share life with each other. This extends far beyond those having children; it’s a normal part of those who experience the grace of God. Sometimes the loudest message of hope comes from the simple acts of love from the people around us.
Having a baby girl does emphasize a lack of control and can make you aware of a broken world, but even more so it points to the greater reality of hope. Jesus is making all things new. He brings miracles in the ordinary.
Baby girl, you are teaching your Daddy far more than you will ever realize.
Photo credit by Melvin Thambi