I love my children. They help me keep life - my life - in perspective. They bring me back to God. They always have. Even when they were small. And life was wild – after all, they were NOT unnaturally good!
One night a few weeks ago our son told me that I needed to look at our present trial with an eternal perspective. “Listen, you have to keep in mind that you still have 30 good years ahead of you!” I protested, “I’m 60 years old and this might kill me!”
His reply was dubious comfort, “Well, Mom. Lots of people aren’t exonerated until 30 years after they’re gone!” But it did break up the pity party as I laughed ruefully and we went on with the task of deciding how to meet recent challenges.
And as he keeps reminding us, “You do what’s right and leave the rest to God.”
Leaving it to God is hard enough, but not picking up offense is harder. Last night we prayed again as we have so often for almost a year now:
Dear God, We want both to flourish – and bear fruit! – in our old age. We want to be fresh and flourishing and seen as fresh and flourishing so that when people look at us they will know that God is still upright.
We don’t think we can be accused of running from the refining process BUT we haven’t been allowing ourselves to grow sweeter! The soil of our offended hearts is still in danger of becoming barren, poisoned by bitterness.
Deliver us from offense as we choose to delight in Your Word in the midst of adversity.
May we dig deep into your word per Psalm 1, 19 and 119 – truly putting down deep, deep roots. We want to be flourishing trees beside sweet waters. We want it to be said of us “The Elliots have such peace because they love (delight in) God’s Word – nothing offends them.” In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit I pray. Amen.
And yet, today, I found myself offended again.
As I found myself confessing to one of our daughters, when I feel injustice pressing in I feel the the same claustrophobic panic I felt when I thought I was locked in her toilet the other day. (Just for the record, apartment toilets are deadly for claustrophobes – just a little cubicle with no window!) The adrenalin surges into every muscle and every pore of my body and I want to strike something/someone HARD until I can get out in the air.
Not at all sweet, not at all trusting.
However, we keep aiming at it.
These days my husband and I sing – A LOT. This is a man that never used to sing. But now he is often the moving force when we “periodically … burst into song” to the great astonishment – and amusement! – of the grandchildren.
A favorite with us recently is Psalm 70A! And I particularly love the first verse:
Hasten, God, my rescue; help me quickly, LORD;
Frustrate those who hunt me; shame be their reward.
Turn back, confuse those who in my hurt delight;
Pay them back with shame who jeer “Aha” with spite.
Yes, “Hasten, God, our rescue; help us quickly, LORD!”
But although I appreciate the chance to be honest about my feelings, I’m glad for the shift of gear in the second verse:
Let all seeking You, with joy in You abide;
Saying for Your rescue, “God be magnified.”
God, I am needy; O come to me I pray;
You’re my Help, my Saviour; LORD, do not delay.
Because I truly do want that sweet spirit of trust in His protection. I do want us to be flourishing trees beside sweet waters. I do want it to be said of us “The Elliots have such peace because they love (delight in) God’s Word – nothing offends them.”
I’m not there yet, though! And I’m so grateful for a daughter who sat and prayed with me today. I’m so grateful for children who pray, for children who bless me with words of wisdom and encouragement – and who wrap me up in a warm embrace when words fail.
I love my children. They are really a “heritage from the LORD.