Monday, January 21, 2013

Elephant Ears

More than anything in this world, I want my children to seek the Lord. Yes, I'd like for them to do well in school and to choose career paths that are fulfilling and noble. I pray that they'll each find a lifelong love, and that their addresses will be no farther than a stone's throw away. I desire for them to know who they really are deep inside and what the passions that consume them are for. As all moms do, I have a laundry list of things I'd love for my children to experience. But more than all that, I just want them to know and love Jesus. The deepest desire of my heart is for them to desire Him.

I want them to know what I know of His goodness, trust as I do in His provision, believe as I've come to in His faithfulness. 

I want them to revel in His Word, be consumed by His work, and devote themselves in His service. 

A struggle for me has been how to 'train up a child in the way he should go' while still ensuring that the choice is his. I don't want my children simply to follow in my religion; I want them to fall in love with my Savior. 

I want them to wrestle and search, question and think. 

I want their allegiance to Christ to be of their own accord. How to lead them to Jesus without commanding it of them has been, and I'm sure will continue to be, a delicate balance. 

So I speak of Him as if He is a tangible part of my life, sharing with them what I see of His works. I pray to Him in front of them, giving them a picture of what a life following Him looks like. I tell them when I've messed up, and let them see that I'm not perfect. They see me reading my Bible and journaling my thoughts, and we have conversations about questions they have. 

We were driving home one night, and somehow began talking about prayer. I was explaining that praying is just as much about listening to what the Holy Spirit says as it is about talking, and my sweet, precocious daughter chimed in.

 "Mommy, it's kind of hard to hear Jesus, but I bet elephants can because they have really big ears."

Haven't you ever wanted really big elephant ears? Haven't you ever needed to hear Jesus but struggled to do so? 

I explained to Katherine - and reminded myself - that in times when it's hard to hear the still, small voice, we have to remember the words He's already said. 

We have to know the truth of Scripture in the times when  His voice is silent. 

We have to rely on who He is when we can't hear what He says.

One day, when they're old enough, I will share with them this journey and the lessons it has taught me. In the meantime, however, I will simply share the journey's Jesus and the love that He has shown. I will tell of His goodness and ever-present help. 

I will teach them His Word, and pray that they'll have elephant ears. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On College Football, Tweets, and God

I may be a girly-girl, but I definitely love me some college football. While the Clemson Tigers are my personal favorite, I enjoy watching any team play. 

I follow several players on Twitter, and a few of them tweeted the same thing following their teams’ victories – “God is good!” From what I know of these young men, they really do seek to follow the Lord, but I wonder… Would their tweets have been the same if their teams had lost?

We hear so often that ‘God is good’ when people are on their personal mountaintops, experiencing favor and blessing, lacking no good thing. But when life is hard, a barren wasteland of hardship and confusion, that statement is not as often proclaimed. Why? Do we associate our ease with God’s goodness? Tangible blessing with love?

I agree wholeheartedly that God is good, but it isn’t in victory that I’ve learned it. I came to believe in His goodness – His eternal, unchanging, omnipresent good – in my personal time of defeat, a time when no good was being poured out on me. I saw His good when all else was bad.

What do we even mean when we say He is good? You might disagree, but I think most people mean ‘He gives good things’ or ‘I feel good.’

We say that our children are ‘good’ when they are well-behaved, associating their goodness with their behavior, and I think we subconsciously do the same with our God. If He behaves in a way that seems to benefit us, then we deem Him good. If we feel slighted or hurt by His actions (or allowances), then we question His goodness.

Unlike our children, however, God does not change. He is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Scripture tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and if that was true thousands of years ago when it was written, then it is true today.

Because God IS love, everything that God allows comes FROM love.

Everything comes from love – even what momentarily seems bad. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17). Troubles come – and will come – but they are not an indication that God is not good. They are an indication that He desires eternal glory for us! 

The bad of this life is God’s good in disguise.