Helping all of us as we venture through this life. And, helping parents and grandparents navigate kids through the childhood, adolescent and post-teenage years...
Sunday, March 31, 2013
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and it will not be anxious in a year of drought, nor cease to yield fruit" -Jer. 17:8 One of the things I love most about living in the Ozarks is the seasons. Growing up in Fort Worth, we definitely experienced summer (HOT) but the other seasons were limited by the Texas climate. Though I love Texas, there's not enough foliage to have much of a Fall. We only have a dusting of snow most winters and Spring is rather short. But the seasons bring variety and a beauty that can so easily be missed. This year we've had more snow later in the season that is typical for southern Missouri. I was listening to an agronomist this morning on the radio (someone who works with agriculture) as he explained why snow is better than rain. "Rain runs off and displaces quicker than the ground soil can soak it in," he said. "But snow sits there and as it slowly melts, is absorbed into the soil slowly and methodically. It provides exactly what the ground needs. Droughts are best solved by either slow soaking rains or a melting snow cover." God breaks the droughts in our lives with His slow, absorbing grace- if we let it soak in through trials. Suffering, trials and tests are such a big part of this life. The truth is, Christ did not come to do away with suffering and he didn't come to explain suffering but he did come to fill it with His presence. Suffering is a huge part of life and how I respond to it determines my attitude towards this life. In Mark chapter 8, Jesus taught the disciples that He must suffer and die. This idea of suffering was unthinkable to the disciples. They signed on with Jesus to bring prosperity to their lives. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him. Jesus huddled the twelve together and told them if they wanted to come to him they must be stretched, deny themselves, take up their cross and follow. Paul challenged Timothy in 2nd Timothy 2:3 to “suffer hardship with him as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." James, in James 1, said “blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life." He was later martyred under Herod. The examples in scripture go on and on. Stretching, pruning, refining, breaking, risking, emptying. It’s been said that a loving God is more concerned with our heavenly character than our earthly comfort. Our kids, Elizabeth and Eric, are grown now and by God’s grace, they’re awesome. But we made tons of mistakes as parents. God is such a perfect Father that He knows we’re the happiest and most content when we’re depending on Him. So, He produces circumstances in our lives to cause us to depend on Him. Romans 5:3 says, "we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance proven character and proven character hope." Not health, not wealth, not prosperity, but dependence on Christ alone. Not “Godly men, therefore no trials, but great trials, therefore Godly men." Howard Hendrix said, ”God uses much whom He breaks much." God loves to use broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to produce rain, broken grain to produce bread, broken bread to give strength, it’s the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume, it is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than before. Can parenting be a breaking time? Oh yes. Difficulty. Struggle. Trial. Is there the option to be angry? Yes. Is there the option to blame? Yes. There always is in any trial or difficulty. But God trumps anyone’s attempt to take control and claim responsibility. It’s why Joseph could say in Genesis 45 and 50, “It was not you who sent me to Egypt, but God. You meant evil, but God meant it for good.” He knew the brothers literally sent him to Egypt, but he submitted to God’s plan. A soft heart credits God, good or bad. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. We either buy in to that or we don’t. So, the next time you or someone you love is going through a drought or a trial, pray for the soaking of God's grace. It will bring a beautiful season of peace. By Eric Joseph Staples © www.parentingyourteen101.com
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