If you have kids, and you go to church, then you know that listening to a single sentence all the way through is nearly impossible in that setting. Crying and fighting over crayons and bathroom breaks and trips to the mother’s room…you get the picture.
But every now and then we get a good Sunday. One where, for some reason, you actually hear stuff. When it happens you know it’s a miracle, and that’s when you really listen up, because God doesn’t keep a bunch of little kids quiet for just anything.
We heard words today from a sweet boy preparing to leave on a mission to England and from a lovely couple that I just admire like crazy. The general theme was our relationship with God and His concern for us. I wanted to share what made an impression on me today and why. Maybe it’s what you need to hear too.
How often do we forget that we are literal sons and daughters of God? That means that he feels towards us what we feel towards our children…only to a MUCH greater, more perfect degree.
The young missionary reminded me: “Compared to God we are nothing, but TO God, we are everything.” I think sometimes, as good Christians, we dwell too much on the first bit…but we can’t forget that God’s love for us is divine and perfect and beyond what any of us can even conceive.
The couple talked specifically about times in their lives when they knew that the Lord was watching out for them. Working through trials and hard times using faith was a topic of one of the talks. Specifically, when times get tough we should take comfort in 3 facts:
1. What is happening is God’s will for us. Even if that means God is respecting another person’s will.
God cannot force a person to do something. He will always respect a person’s choices, even if those choices are causing someone else pain. God does not cause bad things to happen to us, but He allows them because we must be free to make our own choices.
Example: If you have never been hurt by someone else’s poor use of agency then congratulations, you’re a hermit. ALL of us know what it’s like to suffer because of another’s bad choices. Whether that’s because they’re abusing us or simply because we care for the person and we can’t stand to see them destroy their own chance for happiness. Every parent knows this feeling acutely.
2. God’s will is always what is best for us. This is where we must have faith. If we are being abused, mistreated, dumped on, overworked, made miserable and hopeless, God will see us through. Perhaps the trial itself will not end (see #1), but our belief that God has our best intentions at heart will have us looking forward with hope, finding the lesson to be learned.
I’ve got oodles of examples of this one: I didn’t want to move my last year of high school, I wanted to marry someone before Luke, I wanted to go to graduate school, I wanted to kill a crazy lady I worked closely with…we’ve all had LOTS of things that we want and don’t get. But each time, when I’ve accepted that God’s will was other than mine, the result was a happiness that I could never have anticipated. Specific to these examples: seeing a friend find happiness in the gospel, marrying the perfect man for me, staying home to raise and teach my babies, and understanding a lonely soul who became a friend for life.
3. We must submit ourselves to His will. That means we must stop fighting. If we really truly believe the principles above, then this step will not be hard. But most of us like to think that we know what will make us happy. We persistently and stubbornly fight for our own agenda even while God is trying to give us something better.
My favorite example of this was when God needed to teach me some humility. I had made a decision about my future years and years before I actually acted on it. It was a GOOD decision, one that would help people and cause me to lead a better life. When the time finally came, I didn’t even ask God what I should do, I’d already made my choice and heck, it was a good choice so why should I even ask, right?
I finally did ask, simply to show that God that I wanted Him directing my life. But I didn’t get an answer. In fact, I prayed for a long time without answer. It wasn’t until I finally became able to accept a “no” that I got my answer. And guess what… the answer was “yes.” God just needed to know that I was fully able to submit myself to Him, even though he was going to to give me what I wanted all along.
Wow, that was a lot of rambling. I’m so thankful for these words that pierced my heart today. I hope it made some sort of sense.
Kinda hoping there will be more stuff I need to hear next week at church, I could certainly get used to my kids behaving!