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Thursday, 05 June 2008 18:18

Receiving sorrowful news is often something very difficult to cope with, as was particularly the case when the neurologist told us about their diagnosis for Bethany.  The same neurologist later told us that he considered whether to have a social worker present when he told us; little did he know that the Lord, our "Counselor" was with us.

The day before the news, a good friend of Jo's from Church SMS'd us a verse through. Strangely, that very morning, this was the same verse Jo's daily devotional centered around. At the time we didn't think much of it, but later we realised the Lord was already speaking to us, before we learned of Beth's condition.

Nehemiah, chapter 8 v 8-10. "So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep.  For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  The he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Here the people of Israel received some news that made them mourn and weep, and I can say that indeed we wept and mourned at our news.  The the case of Israel it was hearing the words of the law and realising just how far away they were from what the Lord had wanted them to do.  For us it was the expectations and anticipation of all that Beth would be that had been broken.

But Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites encouraged the hearts of the people of Israel; that this was a special day - a day holy unto the Lord - a day the Lord had known was coming and had planned even beforehand;  It wasn't a day of judgment or condemnation but a day instead that would bring a great change in their hearts, and one that would bring them closer to Him.

Although we didn't feel like it at the time, we realise that this was the Lord encouraging our heart that this news, as sorrowful as it was, was not some judgment or condemnation from the Lord either for us or Bethany; but it was a special day that he had prepared and known about beforehand, and a day that was the beginning of something  special that would bring us into more of his love and grace.

We also were encouraged at the advice given to the children of Israel - "go your way, eat the fat [the rich tasty things], drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared"; we were encouraged that we could go on confident in the Lord and His strength, and that there would still be many "fat" and "sweet" portions ahead for us and for many others as well.

We are looking forward to all that the Lord has ahead for us with Beth, despite the sorrowful news, knowing that the Lord has brought this special little one into our lives, and that we will have strength - the joy of the Lord is our strength.