In both my Bible study and in these recent weeks, the Lord has been teaching me lessons on reverence and revelation.
Here’s what I mean by these words:
reverence (n) – a feeling of awe, deep respect, and love towards God which produces a grateful heart and desire to honor and obey Him
revelation (n) – a way in which God makes himself known
Previously I’ve mentioned that I didn’t grow up reading the Bible, but about a year-and-a-half ago I set a goal to read all 66 books. (Actually, I’ve had this goal since June 2004, just before going away to college, when a friend gave me my first Bible. But up until recently I didn’t have my priorities set straight, had no accountability, and I let life’s distractions prevent me from recognizing how starved I actually was. But I digress.)
For me, I’ve found it most beneficial to split my time reading/studying between the Old Testament and New Testament. Currently I’m in 2 Samuel (OT) and Romans (NT), and I’m amazed how God’s using both to illuminate my walk through these long days in the hospital.
Reverence for God
The first and second books of Samuel are really one story, moving from Samuel (the last judge of Israel) to Saul (the people’s choice to be king) to David (God’s choice to be king). In my reading of 2 Samuel 5-6, David has just been made king over all the tribes of Israel and the ark of the covenant was being moved to Jerusalem. In the first failed attempt, God’s specific commands for transporting the ark were not obeyed and God struck down Uzzah for his irreverence.
Reading this made me recognize how much I fall short in my own reverence for God. At times I have glimpses of how BIG God is; He’s given me so many displays of His glory in my recent life especially. But it’s easy for me to be forgetful and fall back into my own fears and insecurity. To be reverent is to honor and obey God. Jesus’ two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). What would it look like to love God with all my heart? How can I better love those in my life? I want to continue learning and drawing closer to Christ so I can live in awe and reverence.
General revelation and God’s design for the mother/child relationship
In Romans 1:18-23, the apostle Paul writes of mankind having no excuse of denying God’s existence because of what He has revealed to us of Himself (“His eternal power and divine nature”) and in His creation (“through what has been made”). The theological term for this is general revelation. For an atheist to say that this world was created by accident is to actively ignore the truth that has been revealed to them. When we observe the world – whether it’s by studying the seasons or physics, pondering the infinite, or looking within ourselves – God is there.
I’ve witnessed God throughout this journey with Ronin. But over the last couple weeks, I’ve been awestruck by revelations of His design for the bond between mothers and their children.
Due to his heart medication, Ronin’s still very sleepy during our cuddle times. What finally allowed me to realize how aware he is of me being there with him were the days he started smiling – and then LAUGHING! – while resting in my arms. I don’t remember the girls ever doing much more than crying or pooping as newborns, so Ronin’s laughter definitely stands out! I’m so thankful for the joy in him and that he knows he’s loved.
Ronin is six weeks old now and has been doing great! On Sunday he was moved from the Cardiac ICU back into the NICU, which is good news in terms of his heart’s stability. He’s currently weighing a little over 5 lbs (up from 3 lbs, 3 oz at birth!). The main goal in the NICU is to stay healthy and grow bigger before his heart repair surgery, hopefully when he’s somewhere between 4-6 months. We’re prayerful that he can come home sometime before his major surgery, but at this point we’re still only taking things one day at a time.
While science continues making new discoveries about the world, each is only an arrow pointing back to God’s design and purpose. Something fascinating that I’ve recently learned is the phenomenon called “fetomaternal microchimerism,” which describes the lasting cellular-level interconnectedness between a mother and child.
According to Dr. Kristin Collier, a physician and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, during pregnancy “the growing baby sends some of her cells across the placenta into her mother in a way that we are only beginning to understand. These cells migrate to various sites of maternal tissue and integrate into them. They then assume the function of the surrounding tissue and begin to function as such. Microchimeric cells have been found in various maternal tissues and organs, such as the breast, bone marrow, skin, liver and brain.”
These microchimeric cells remain with mothers throughout their lives. Researchers have hypothesized that they protect and heal the mother’s body in various ways, and also may explain how mothers intuitively feel their children even when they’re not around. This gives just a glimpse of the relational biology of mankind, and speaks to God’s design for us to all need and benefit from one another.
It just makes me wonder how much there is about the world – and about ourselves – that science will never fully understand. And for a practical application, the awareness that God is bigger than explanation gives me the confidence to lean into my motherly intuition and know that He will equip me with everything I need for my role.
Does any of this resonate with you? What are your thoughts on God’s revelation and the reverence it produces?