The End of Myself

Friday, May 29th, 2015 at 9:23 am


That’s what I felt as Tirzah Mae’s not sleeping at night approached two months.

Would she ever sleep through the night again? Would my “good” baby, who never cried unless she needed something, ever return?

Despite the doctor’s ultimate diagnosis of colic as the source of her crying and frequent night waking (in other words, “crying for no understandable reason”), I was convinced there was something causing her crying. Yes, we ruled out GERD when two weeks of medication had no effect. But prior to this, Tirzah Mae never cried unless she needed something: she was hungry, she was dirty, she was overtired, she was in pain.

As I got up with her yet again, bleary eyed and exhausted from two months of rarely finishing a sleep cycle and from the effort of cleaning up a filthy mobile home while my own home slipped back into chaos, I was absolutely desperate.

I made a plan to do what I’d been toying with for weeks – I’d go to the pharmacy, pick up every scientifically suspect remedy. Gripe water. Simethicone. Homeopathic remedies.

I was willing to throw away my scientific dogmatism, to do anything, however contrary to my training and philosophy, if only it would help.

That’s when, in desperation, I cried out to God: “God, heal my daughter.”

At long last, she was soothed and fell back asleep. I left her in her crib and returned to my own bed, where I continued to cry out to God until I fell asleep myself.

And I slept. Two hours, three, four.

I roused, thinking surely my overtiredness had kept me from hearing Tirzah Mae’s screams. I heard her rustling in her crib – and nothing more.

I fell back asleep.

Six hours after she had fallen asleep, she awoke and fussed for her mother.

The next night, she slept another five to six hours. And the next. She’s slept wonderfully since Tuesday.

And I turn, at the end of myself, wondering why I waited so long to turn to God.

Why is it that I only turn to Him after I’ve diagnosed her myself, after I’ve turned to the internet, after I’ve turned to the doctor, after the medication fails? Why did I wait until my only other resort was hocus-pocus?

It’s frightening, how slowly I turn to the one who knows all things, who alone has the power to change all circumstances.

It’s humbling, how sinful I am even in turning to Christ.

But it’s so amazing, how God’s mercy doesn’t punish me for waiting to turn to Him. Instead, He graciously grants my daughter (and myself) sleep.

Just one more example of the gospel at work: God, graciously giving good gifts to those who don’t deserve it, forgiving those who turn aside so often to self-reliant idolatry.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to the end of myself. Thank you, Lord, for your patience with my delay. Thank you for reminding me again how it is only in you that I live and move and have my being. May I turn aside from self-idolatry and ever more quickly turn to you, the source of all life.

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