Firstly, I just want to say thank you so much for the wonderful gift of Isabelle. She's beautiful - yet another example of your amazing creative abilities - and I feel honoured to be able to be her dad. She helps me to believe the truth that each and every person is fearfully and wonderfully made; knit together in their mother's womb (psalm 139) Help me to be a good father to her and Alicia. Help Alicia to adjust to being a big sister, rather than an only child, and to sharing our attention.
I've got some questions that have arisen from situations and conversations that I've come across in the past few months; I hope you don't mind.
While I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful way that you've worked in my life and the life of my family (I can't believe that less than 3 years ago we were wondering if we'd be able to have children and now we have two!) both at home and at work (I feel fulfilled in the role I have and I know that I'm where you want me, doing what you want me to do), it does lead me to ask simply, why me? Why is it that you seemed to have answered my prayers so comprehensively and given me such incredible blessings that I don't deserve?
Why am I so happily married when others I know have been divorced - through no fault of their own - in their twenties?
Why do I have two healthy, beautiful daughters when others have sick or disabled children or are unable to have children at all?
Why did Liz have a (relatively) straight-forward labour this time, while at the same time there was a woman who lost five pints of blood during a difficult ten-hour labour and might have died on the operating table? Was it because there were people praying for a quick and easy labour and you chose to answer that prayer? Were there people praying for the other woman? If so, why weren't their prayers answered?
Why do I find myself with parents and parents-in-law that Liz and I both love and can actually stay together with us in the same house without civil war breaking out?
Why have you blessed me with a job that I absolutely love and a brilliant working relationship with my boss, when so many others are unhappy and frustrated in their jobs?
Did you honestly answer my prayer last night for a parking space (it was the last one in the carpark)? If so, why haven't you answered so many fervent prayers of people whose lives are plagued by chronic illness?
Lord, I have so many questions. I used to think that I had the answers to these and other questions, but now I realise that I know much less than I thought I did. However, I love you, and I trust you; and I know that your love for me and all those you have created is unending and unchanging. Help me to continue to love and trust you whatever my circumstances. Help me to walk with you and follow you as closely as I can. Help me to help others in their walk with you too.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in— behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you. …
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.