Published on March 1st, 2012 | by Chris
Oh Happy Day!
This has been an incredible week for our family! My wife gave birth to our second child on Tuesday! Both my wife and my first daughter are doing great. It took us a long time to decide on a name, but we both agreed on Evangeline Moriah. We were considering using “Mariah” for her middle name, but we noticed that that name can actually mean “bitter.” We decided to try a different spelling, and found out that Moriah means “God is my teacher.”
Even though we could avoid giving our daughter a name that can mean “bitter,” we cannot ensure that she will avoid all painful experiences, disappointments, and even mistreatment in life. But one thing that we can do is share with her the truth of God’s grace that enables anyone to be free from the bitterness that easily grows from these hurts, frustrations, and unmet expectations. This is some of the most freeing news to live by!
Unfortunately, as an adult I find that it is easy for anger and bitterness to live “hidden.” I can suppress its reality until it is forced to come to a head by intentional or unintentional circumstances. So, in order to try to keep bitterness from taking such a strong root in a “hidden” environment, I must consistently and intentionally be inviting the Spirit of God to reveal and shed light on the bitterness in my heart.
Confession Is Good For the Soul
Once this is discovered, the first step is to admit my hurt in prayer to God. In Dr. Bill Thrasher’s book, How to Be a Soul Physician, he says, “In the environment of God’s grace and in the enablement of His Spirit we need to courageously and prayerfully admit our hurt to God” (161). This can be very hard, but I want Evangeline to learn to always run to God with her hurts. Secondly, I must remind myself that Jesus can identify with me in my pain (2 Tim. 2:8; Matt. 26:47-50; Matt. 26:56; Matt. 27:18). We do not have a high priest that is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…what a blessing!
In the midst of hurt, I also want Evangeline to have the biblical perspective that there are great benefits in trials and suffering, even in relationships. This will also help protect her from living in bitterness. Trials and suffering can actually open up the door to know God in new, living ways. One can experientially learn of God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). It is this knowledge that then plays a critical role in conforming us to His moral character and preparing us to minister to others (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 1:3-5).
It is also important for me to remind myself of the negative consequences of failing to forgive, because these consequences are staggering (see past blog on forgiveness). I do not want Evangeline to live in those chains of unforgiveness.
So, one of my prayers for Evangeline is that God will truly be her teacher, and that she will understand and accept the good news of Jesus Christ, not live in bitterness, and that she will increasingly live in a way that tangibly makes known the grace and forgiveness and freedom of Jesus Christ.