This is the Day

exploring the soul's quest for joy

Tag: god’s promises

His Eye is on My Sparrow

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I crossed a threshold in my life as a mother a few weeks ago. It was a moment filled at once with expectation at the adventure that lies ahead, and sorrow over what is understandably lost.

 

The moment came as I made the long journey from Philadelphia to Raleigh, NC to launch my first-born into “real life.” Like the signs that warn of “Severe Tire Damage” if you attempt to reverse out of the direction in which you are traveling, there is no backing out now. The bird has left the nest, and there will be no flying back in.

 

I often hear people say at this stage of life, “I can’t believe how fast it went!” I honestly can’t say that it went fast. None of it went fast. I took it slow, and so, for me, it all went slow, real slow.

 

Long moments with the unborn baby inside, pondering the mystery of the life growing within me. Daily walks in the park, rain or shine, with the baby in the pram, nestled warm and dry. Frequent visits to the firehouse or the library, hand in hand with the boy as he skipped up and down the curb, as though we had all the time in the world to explore together. Endless hours pitching baseballs, kicking soccer balls, and swimming in the pool together, because (did I mention it?) the boy has boundless energy.

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There were countless trips to the pediatrician for the chronic ear infections, the runny noses, the surgery and the stiches. There were hours upon hours of bedtime stories and homework help and lingering conversations around the dinner table. There were sports practices and games, baseball and soccer tournaments near and far. There was laughter. There were tears. There were late-night snacks for two that inevitably gave way to the best and most important talks between a mother and her dearly loved son.

 

It didn’t go fast; it went full.

 

It went full throttle and I didn’t miss a thing. And I am so very grateful.

 

But now, as I stand with my nest a little less full than I would like, a heaviness descends upon my heart. It’s not just the heaviness of a heart that aches for my precious one to be with me still. It is also the heaviness of uncertainty. Have I taught him everything he needs to know? How will he be guided in life’s major decisions? Who will take my place and love and care for my son?

 

fullsizerender-2And God speaks to me, reminding me that His promises in scripture apply not just to me, but also to my precious son. If His eye is on the sparrow, then certainly His eye is on my son and He will care for him. He reminds me that His love for my son far surpasses my own love for him. He reminds me that my son is first and foremost His son, and that it was God after all who entrusted him to my care 22 years ago.

 

He reminds me that He has a wondrous plan for my child. “For I know the plans I have for your child,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him hope and a future.” He has a plan for my child, as surely as He has a plan for me, and I can rest in that assurance.

 

He reminds me how much He loves and cares for my son and that each and every promise I find in scripture applies not just to me but to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. In confidence I can lean on God’s words from Isaiah 43:

 

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed your son.

    I’ve called his name. He is mine.

When he’s in over his head, I’ll be there with him.

    When he’s in rough waters, he will not go down.

When he’s between a rock and a hard place,

    it won’t be a dead end—

Because I am God, his personal God,

    The Holy of Israel, his Savior.

I paid a huge price for him:

    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!

That’s how much he means to me!

    That’s how much I love him!

I’d sell off the whole world to get him back,

    trade the creation just for him.

 

I look around me and take one final inventory of the room that has now become my son’s bedroom in his new home. We accomplished much in 24 short hours. I blow out the candle and place my love letter to him on his pillow. I shut out the light and gently close the door. My work here is done.

 

The invitation is the same as it ever was. To choose trust over worry. To believe that God’s love never fails. To rest in the unfailing arms of the One who has His eye on my sparrow.

 

 

A Riff off Oswald Chambers

This year I have been reading through Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest. At six months into the year, I am exactly one-half way through his collection of daily inspirations that call me to yield more and more of myself to the One who deserves my all. What follows is a “riff” off Chambers’ journal entry for June 5.

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    Hebrews 13:5-6

 

The Bible is loaded with promises to God’s people. Promises of protection. Promises of His blessing. Promises of His never-ending love. And all of His promises—whether addressed to the children of Israel in the Old Testament or to the followers of Jesus in the New Testament—are extended to us today. They are for all of us, not just for those who lived thousands of years ago.

 

But while I know His promises apply to us today, do I really believe they are for me personally? Sometimes, if I’m honest, I read a Biblical promise of God and try to absorb its weight and meaning, but all too quickly, I move on, returning to my own worries and concerns. I end up giving too much space for my own thoughts rather than continuing to mull over and apply the God-promise.

 

The thing is, we have to learn to read these promises with a “so what?” response.

 

“I will never leave you or forsake you” is the most amazing promise! And yet how long do we really sit with this promise, and others like it, allowing the full weight of its glorious truth to change us? All too often our own thoughts and fears quickly bubble back up to the surface to silence this God-promise.

 

Chambers puts this concept in musical terms when he asks, “Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s key-note?” Every God-promise to us from scripture is a key-note, an opening chord, inviting us to respond with another note in the same key. And note builds upon note until our entire life is a riff off God’s key-note promises.

 

The writer of Hebrews shows us what this riff-off can look like. God declares His truth to us in verse 5 of chapter 13 when He promises, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And we are to pick up the key-note from there with our confident reply in verse 6: “the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

 

Isn’t that amazing? God promises us His part (the key-note in verse 5), which leads us to our confident response (the riff in verse 6).

 

If we stop after reading a God-promise and don’t allow our spirit to move to the place of making a confident response to that promise, nothing within us changes. Then, as Chambers declares, “when we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God becomes a nonentity.”

 

We may remember God’s words for a few hours, or a few days perhaps, but there’s nothing we have instructed our own spirit to do in response. Don’t let God’s perfectly pitched promises to you just dissipate in the sound waves. Let them reach their full resonance in you by riffing off His key-note with a bold, confident assertion of what that promise means for you personally.

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