Three years ago on March 7th, my youngest baby was born. After two days of trying to get her to feed without success, the hospital decided there was something else wrong with her (in addition to the initial low blood sugars and jaundice she had, which are common in babies born to diabetic moms). They found out when she was 8 days old, through the newborn screening tests, that she had been born without a thyroid gland (thyroid agenesis). All in all, she was in the intensive care unit for six weeks following her birth.
The hospital was nearly an hour away from our house. I also had a 6 year old and an three and a half year old at home at that time. It was not easy.
I traveled almost every day to the hospital to spend time with her. It seemed as though my soul was at peace only when I was in that ICU room with her. As tough as it was, I now look upon that time as one that drew me closer to Christ and strengthened my faith. And I thank God for that.
During my hour drive to the hospital, I often used the time to pray. I prayed about everything, but of course my little one’s health and well-being was uppermost in my prayers. I was desperate for God to answer those prayers.
One day I was severely convicted about the fact that as I was praying, I was typically driving 10 miles above the speed limit. All these bible verses went through my head…
James 5:16 “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
1 John 3:21-22 “21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.”
I felt convicted to decrease my speed to the speed limit, but I waffled back and forth three or four times as I “justified” my speeding to God. After all, shouldn’t I be trying to get to the hospital and spend as much time as I could with my baby? And really, God, everyone else goes 75 mph.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that “why would God listen / answer my prayers if I’m not being obedient?” I finally cut back my speed to 65 mph and set the cruise control.
About 2 miles later, I came upon a speed trap that the state troopers had set. Aaah – God – you have such a sense of humor.
What I discovered that day was that God is – He really is– always with me, seeking to, as it says in Philippians 1:6, complete the good work that He started in me. He’s also willing to reveal himself to me as long as I’m willing to pay attention!
I also discovered that obedience (in this case – obedience to Him by obeying the speed limit – as inconsequential as that may seem) is important to Him. Obedience in everything.
And when I started to obey the speed limit (which I still do [most of the time], believe it or not!!), there was a peace that came to me. My attitude was changed – it was no longer about me (getting ahead – even in traffic), but instead it was about Him. I could trust Him to make everything right as long as I was obedient.
This may seem like a silly story to you, but it had a profound effect upon the way I look at obedience to God. Obedience is an outgrowth of faith and trust in a Holy, ever-loving, powerful, faithful, and good God. He is trustworthy. Even if obeying Him is painful in the short-term, we can trust that His way is best. We can trust what it says in Romans 8:28 ~ that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.
Have you had an encounter with God in the area of obedience? Where has God met you?
p.s. – if you want to read more about what I learned during those ICU days, read this post.