A Look at Suffering for Beauty

God’s care for His children is personal, intimate, and costly.

I visited my sister Mollie in the hospital on Wednesday with her first child, Evelyn, who was born Tuesday evening. Having known Mollie literally my whole life, the first time I saw her turn and look at Evelyn was too beautiful to describe. Neither can pictures here tell that full story.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation . . . I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it.” (Lewis, “Reflections on the Psalms”)

Mollie, Evelyn, and Matt

I am especially affected by Mollie’s love for her daughter because I’ve grown up with Mollie my whole life. I witnessed the beauty of my sister who has become a mother.

siblings, Katie, Mollie, me

Above all, Mollie’s look toward her daughter was beyond breathtaking because she was reflecting the character of God in His love for His children. Mollie’s look at Evelyn was a small and beautiful picture of the Lord’s loving look toward His children who truly trust Him (Ephesians 1:5).

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

After I first saw Mollie glance at Evelyn from across the room, the newborn daughter was handed to me to hold. I was crying tears of joy as I held Evelyn, although I don’t think anyone else could see. I began to pray for Evelyn as I looked at her. I prayed that she would enjoy God forever through repentance and faith in Christ.

holding Evelyn

After a few stories and goodbyes, I left the hospital. As I sat down in my car before taking off, a verse from Isaiah came to mind.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you,” says the Lord God. (Isaiah 49:15)

As I considered this verse in my car, I wept. I praised God then, and I praise God now. How deep is our heavenly Father’s love for us? We can know the Father’s love for us through Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). My sister endured the agony of labor to give Evelyn physical birth. Christ, the Son of God, endured the cross to give God’s children spiritual birth through faith in Him. Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).

For Evelyn to doubt Mollie’s love for her would be a hurtful mistake. If you have repented and trusted in Christ, for you to doubt God’s love toward you will only embitter your soul and quench the Spirit in you. If you have not repented and trusted in Christ, for you to continue rejecting God’s love in Christ will only devastate your soul on that Day when we see Him as He is.

“The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.” (John Owen, “Communion With God”)

To the truly repentant:
The Son of God loves you more in one instant than any person or group of people could love you in 100 million years combined.
Considering the cross, that would be an understatement.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:22, 2:19)

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