Oblivious to the events that thrust her into my arms, the baby dozed contentedly.
Sometimes being unaware is a gift.
A frantic call from my friend only minutes earlier had propelled me into action. “Can you meet me at the restaurant? My husband suffered another seizure and I need someone to care for my baby. The ambulance is on its way.”
Trips to the hospital were becoming frequent. This was the third time in as many weeks the infant and I had found ourselves in the same lobby. It was a virus causing the convulsions and the doctors were unsure how to treat it. My friend now existed in perpetual angst anticipating her husband’s next violent fit.
Gazing at the infant’s peaceful face, I knew she would never remember what happened to ensure she remained untouched by the tumult around her. Schedules rearranged, friends enlisted to retrieve her sibling, work delayed, a long drive to the hospital, loading and unloading car seats and diaper bags, arranging for meals.
Still dependent on her mother’s milk, she needed to stay near.
On behalf of one defenseless life, a village leaped into action. Now, perched quietly on a hospital bench, my thoughts wandered.
I didn’t welcome the disruption to my schedule. I had left piles of work and responsibilities behind that would still need attention when I returned. So why could I sit here calmly for hours doing something so unproductive? What was that voice inside that reassured me it was enough just to hold her – that joy was found here?
‘Enough’ is not a word I often use. I prefer more descriptive words like abundance, scarcity, profound, superficial. ‘Enough’ sounds so minimal. So unimpressive.
But there it was. Enough.
And joy? That is not a word I would have chosen, either. Joy didn’t seem to fit given the circumstances. However, I learned joy emerges from choice, not circumstance.
In God’s eyes, our collective contribution to this child’s needs was enough because in it we were choosing sacrificial love for others. And like a treasure waiting to be unlocked, Christ’s mysterious joy poured out in us as we obeyed his command, showing ourselves to be his friends.
Joy seems to be inextricably linked with loving others. A byproduct of embracing Kingdom values, where the one, the hidden, the lost are elevated. The weak and vulnerable and small are protected. And fruitfulness comes by abiding instead of striving.
Cultivated in the soil of abiding, joy blossoms through practical love and becomes nourishment in the scarcest of times.
Considering all that is unfolding in our world, today, I believe God is giving His people ample opportunity to step into joy. As we abide in Him, may we be ready to cross the threshold of sacrificial love, bearing one another’s burdens and thus yield a harvest of eternal fruit.
Then, like a mysterious portal, the “enough” of sacrificial love can transform the ordinary into the supernatural.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Tamara Carpenter is part of Newsong’s Board. You can read more of her writing on her blog: tamaracarpenter.com