Asthma attacks and pneumonia had us at the doctor’s office a lot the past two weeks.
The nurse asks the standard questions directly to Hope.
“How are you feeling today, Hope?”, “Are you breathing better?”, “Does anything hurt?”
And then comes the question that I hold my breath for because I never know what’s going to come out of my little girl’s mouth.
“Hope? Is home a good place?”
“Wellllll,” she says thoughtfully.
“I didn’t like…”
She pauses. We wait. Oh boy, I’m thinking.
“I didn’t like the new rug on the stairs,” she says finally. “I wanted to go back to the hotel because I don’t like… I don’t like the rug … on the stairs now.” She hunches her shoulders.
“We lived in a hotel while the house was being deleaded this summer. They put a dull gray carpet on the stairs and Hope is none too pleased.” I explain.
“Oh,” says the nurse.
“But Hope, besides that, is home a good place?”
“Welllllll,” she says thoughtfully.
I roll my eyes.
“God comes down to our house. But we’re… we’re going to go to His house. And it’s better than our house.”
I grin at the nurse. Got that?
Later I thought about Hope’s words. I knew she was talking about heaven when she said that we were going to His house and it’s better than ours. We had a conversation about it once, but I didn’t know she’d remembered. But the part that got me, the part that she and I had never discussed is that “God comes down to our house.”
It reminds me of the Old Testament story where God tells Moses that he wants to save the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. He says, “I have surely seen their affliction… and have heard their cry… for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them…” (Exodus 3:7). I think it’s a foreshadowing of God in human flesh – the Savior – come down to deliver. He could have chilled in heaven and waved His pinky finger to perform the rescue, but instead He came down to do it.
This house is never as clean as I want it. Not even close. There is spilled juice on the floor, dishes in the sink, butter on the alarm keypad and laundry piled to the ceiling. And I’m so glad the walls don’t speak of things said and done within. The thought of the Most High God loving us so much as to come into this space and invade our homes and hearts is mind-boggling. Makes me embarrassed and grateful all at once.
Because we greatly need the joy of His deliverance, the comfort of His presence. Every moment.
At bedtime, Hope prays the same prayer: “Please let Daddy have a good day at Iraq. A-ah-men.”
“I have heard their cry: And I am come down…”
Rhema’s agitation is expressed through midnight antics. She strips, she shrieks, she turns on the light, she pounds the floor and kicks the door. Her brain cannot, will not slow down. But then finally, in the early morning, she settles into rest.
“I have surely seen their affliction; And I am come down…”
Lonely nights give way to hectic mornings, and I check myself, and the ache is still there. It’s another long day and Hope is whining and I’m PMS-ing and I don’t know what to cook for their gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free dinner. And Rhema is out of sorts again, doing the limp noodle on the stairs, and I bend over and try to lift her. She head butts me, and the pain is blinding, and I think I can’t take it anymore.
“For I know their sorrows; And I am come down…”
Via skype, the husband and I talk over hard things – from MMR shots to moving details to us – all over a bad connection.
But He sees, He hears, He knows.
So we pray, because we don’t know what to do.
And God comes down to our house.