God uses children to get our attention, to reveal our sin, and to save us for our good and his glory. Our children are gifts partly because God is faithful to use them in order to get us ready for heaven. If God has given you the role of parent, the point isn’t for you to nail it.
The role of parent isn’t so much for you to produce a holy child as it is for God to produce a holy you.
I don't know you. But I do know that while some families are planning their Mother's Day around church services and brunch gatherings, for some, there is no planning at all.
When something horrible happens, something that seems unfair or unexplainable, we grasp for meaning in our suffering. More than that we try to reconcile our experience with our conception of God. The problem is, if we don’t trust His character first and foremost over what we are able to see, we will demand that in all of our trials, He answer to us. This is sin.
I resented others who said they had a great first year. I was envious of those who were popping out kids with no problem while we couldn’t even figure out sex. I hated when people joked about “doing it” all the time as newlyweds.
And as I saw my sinful responses to my trial grow, I realized that maybe I had worshiped my hopes for sex more than my God.
Scripture teaches us that suffering is one of God’s means (and I might argue, his primary means) of growing us in spiritual maturity. So how can we respond to suffering in a way that participates in that work of spiritual and physical life in us, rather than bringing about more pain and death?
When I really think about it, the reason I want 2015 to end is that I think I deserve better. I am a pretty nice person. My husband and I both work for our church. We love our families. We recycle. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to have more kids. We deserve to live until we are old and die together holding hands . . . right?
The roller coaster of hoping and lamenting in times of waiting can really be exhausting. I deeply do not prefer waiting for God to open His hand to give me good things that I desire. In my current season, I am waiting on the Lord for a second child. I want to be hopeful and pray expectantly. But my hopes often seem to get too high, which I only realize when they crash down around me. If I’m being honest I am so tempted toward apathy during seasons of waiting. I want to avoid the whole emotional ordeal altogether.
This summer, the brothers and sisters of my congregation have gone through an unusual amount of physical suffering. Cancer, heart attack, strokes, sickle cell and death aggressively reared their truculent heads. One Sunday burdened by these ailments, the congregation joined hands across the aisle and bombarded heaven with desperate pleas of healing for particular individuals who were in digressing situations. Within two weeks, two people had died and a third was declared to be unrecoverable. It wasn’t long after that when a member asked me a sincere and relevant question: Should we have prayed for healing with so much boldness?
I wish I could have been there, but what comfort and joy to know that Jesus was there. He was holding my mother’s hand, reminding her of his faithful promises. He was preparing her heart and giving her spiritual eyes to see her true home. It has brought me peace to be reminded that my mother’s death wasn’t about my inability or failure to comfort or help her, but about His sufficiency and faithfulness to care for her.
I’ve never been one to often tell people “You deserve this!” . . . especially if it involves something like ice cream or a “break.” Not because I don’t think people should ever have ice cream or a reprieve from hard work. But more often than not, when people say this to me I know it’s not actually true. I know the corners I cut or the thoughts I had in my heart. I know the attitude I had behind closed doors and the not so proud moments that come along with any hard work or achievement.
In the Old Testament when God wanted to guarantee a promise, he made an oath. He gave his own word based on his own character because it’s the most unbreakable, unchangeable thing there is. There’s nothing more sure than Himself. Because He cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. When we run to God for our very lives we get to grab the promised hope of what He is offering and what we need with both hands.