When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place. (Psalm 118:5)
Before the birth of our first child, Sarah, I was battling a rough patch of depression. I was in a new pastorate and unsure of myself. Though God always provided, we had very little to live on. I was excited about becoming a father but also fearful about what kind of father I would be. I like to think I provided Alice the support she needed to have a reasonably enjoyable pregnancy, but I’m sure there were many days she wondered how I would function as a father and just how this whole marriage thing was going to work.
I turned to the LORD in some intensive prayer, asking for help to prepare for this major life change. I began to journal again, particularly on the Psalms. Not only did I lift up prayers, but I listened expectantly for God to respond. I could sense myself growing closer to the LORD, to Alice, and to this little baby growing within her.
By the time the baby arrived, it was as if God had set me in a “broad place” where I could function well. It’s actually fun to watch the video of the hours right before and after Sarah’s birth. I don’t look like my usual sullen self or like some maniac bouncing off the walls. Alice has said I look just like “the man she most wanted to marry.”
Prayer may not always be a magic panacea to cure all ills. It is, however, a lifeline we can draw on when we are in distress, when there is no place else to go. Rather than make it an occasional retreat, why not make it our first line of defense?