During the long evening hours at work, this image often comes to mind: my littlest in the comforts of our home, helping prepare for a family birthday dinner. It's the culmination of some of my favorite bits of motherhood and of life: my tiny shadow trailing my every step, watching as I carefully place each plate and napkin and hopefully letting the memory seep into her heart like it does mine. It's in our home that we enjoy the good gifts of the Father, like beeswax candles and grilled corn and clean cotton sheets and laughter. The most mundane and most important moments of our lives happen inside these walls.
There are nights at the hospital when I wish this - my home - could be the backdrop of all my hours, a place I never had to drive away from. Many days, I justify working by remembering that I'm earning much needed money for our family and I'm serving the weakest of the weak, and thereby serving Jesus.
The other day, I had a young patient who was severely autistic, but you could tell that his mind processed much more than he could communicate. I'm sure he felt trapped inside his own body. He passed away a few nights ago and my very first thought was, "Freedom! What freedom!" He's walking and talking and moving his limbs on command and glorifying God with every step. It made me wonder if Heaven is even sweeter for those who have endured the confines of a body riddled with disease on earth.
In a much smaller way, you know how a hot shower feels even more luxurious if your toes are bone cold? How you just melt under the comfort? In a similar way, when I walk into the doors of my home after peeling off layers of hospital grime and into the embraces of my family, into the lavish gift of a full fridge, a cup of hot tea, the sound of worship music... it's even richer than if I'd been here all along. The contrast makes me even more grateful.
Comfort is my drug of choice. I'm always seeking it, and I'm always left wanting. Aren't we all? But the truth is, we will never find lasting comfort apart from Jesus. We will always be searching for it in our stuff, our people, our paychecks. And we will always come up short. The stuff breaks. The people fail us. The paycheck is spent on car repairs and water bills.
But in Christ, he promises to give us living water so we will never thirst again. There is nothing outside him that we need. He is our perfect righteousness, our perfect peace, our only hope for true rest. The Savior endured the most unimaginable discomfort - separation from his Father - in order to spare us from eternal separation from God and to bring us into his perfect comfort. He surely didn't have to do this. But in his mercy and his grace, he chose us to share with him the eternal inheritance we never deserved. This is what I hope my children can someday grasp in the temporary comforts surrounding them in our home: I pray they see Jesus.