The day couldn’t have been more lovely, the sun sparkling on the lake, the beach slowly filling with families. A little red-haired girl caught my attention. She stood still on the shore, her small head bent over something in her hand. She started forward, stopped and peered at her hand, took a few more steps and stopped again. As she approached, I could see a moth cupped in her palm. She tilted her hand each time it moved, stopped when it crawled dangerously close to the edge and moved slowly forward when it was secure. Eventually the little girl reached her parent, holding her hand out for her mother to admire the precious treasure.
My delight in watching that little girl deepened as I realized God had just given me a picture of Himself. His care for each one of us is no less complete than the careful protection she provided for that small moth. Isaiah 46:4(b) says “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” God holds us in His hand and takes great care to keep us there. In John 17:12, as Jesus prays to His Father on our behalf, He says “I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost …”
Like that child who was so pleased with her treasure, Jesus delights in presenting us to His Father. In John 17, He asked his Father to protect us, to set us apart from the evil in the world and draw us into a complete relationship with Himself. He says “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
How incredible to think God loves us as much as he does His own Son!
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from Alberta Canada where she lives with her pastor/husband. She is the author of two contemporary novels, four fantasy novels, and four devotional books. Visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com
A friend told me a story about an outing with her family. At the end of a busy day, she was walking back to the vehicles with her son and young granddaughter. It was a clear night and the sky was filled with twinkling stars.
The little girl looked up in awe and then stretched her arms up high to touch them. They weren’t as close as she thought so she reached even higher. When she couldn’t come close to grasping one, she looked at her daddy and said, “Can’t reach.” The loving father picked up his little girl and placed her on his shoulders so she could be closer.
The image of a child being lifted by her daddy to reach for the stars was a powerful one for me. I can think of many times in my life when I have reached for the stars and fallen short. It was unrealistic to think I could achieve something so unattainable.
There came a time when I knew I couldn’t reach high enough and gave up trying. My dreams became more down to earth. They were no longer big dreams but now I had a chance of reaching them.
Then came the day I was asked to reach for something far beyond my limited abilities. Tearfully I replied, “I can’t – it’s too big and too far.” My heavenly father smiled and lifted me on his shoulders. He lovingly held my arms up and told me that together we could reach anything.
Entrust your efforts to the Lord and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3 GWT)
Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I was blessed to be able to spend time with both of my children and all seven of my grandchildren. They gave me the best gift possible, the gift of time together.
The young children hugged me, said, “Happy Mother’s Day” and went off to play. My husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and teenage granddaughters sat at the table and we talked and laughed together.
We were also blessed to have our daughter-in-law’s mom with us. The decibel level rose higher as we all enjoyed our time together. The evening wasn’t as much a tribute to motherhood as much as a celebration of life. Stories were told that didn’t always portray me in a favourable light, but that was fine with me.
My family knows that I’m not perfect. I learned long ago to laugh at my mistakes. After all, these make for the best stories!
This, in turn, gives my kids permission to laugh at themselves. One of the lessons I hope to have passed is, don’t take yourself too seriously.
Besides laughter, the other ingredient of our successful gathering was love. It is a beautiful thing and I never want to take for granted the love we share.
This legacy of teasing, laughing and loving was passed on by my mother. She taught us by example. Although she passed on many years ago, I know she’d be pleased to see us carrying on in the same manner. The lessons were well learned and my goal is to ensure they are passed on to future generations.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 GWT)
I noticed the little boy as I was driving slowly through a residential neighbourhood. He was on a bicycle with training wheels. What first caught my attention was how fast he was pedaling. His little legs couldn’t have moved any faster!
Unfortunately, one of his training wheels had been caught between stepping stones in his yard. This meant the bike wasn’t level and without the proper wheels on the ground, he wasn’t moving. All his hard work was getting him nowhere.
I thought to myself, the poor child doesn’t know that no matter how hard he pedals the bike won’t move until he gets unstuck.
A voice inside me said, “This is a good visual of how you spin your wheels and wonder why you don’t get anywhere.” Ouch! The truth can hurt when it smacks you in the face.
When I don’t get the results I’d hoped for I often keep doing the same things as before but intensify the effort. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
What is needed is for me to look at my situation from different angles. Being objective can help me figure out what is causing me to be stuck. I might be able to fix things on my own or I may need assistance.
Once I get back on a level surface I can move forward instead of suffering the frustration of spinning my wheels.
The young child in the seat behind us was getting bored on the airplane. She wanted to see out of the window but the blind was closed. “Open the window,” she said. When her wish wasn’t granted, she raised her voice and said, “Daddy, open the window. I want the window opened.” The insistent demand grew louder and louder. Her parents tried unsuccessfully to shush her. She knew what she wanted and was going to keep asking until she got it.
We had a few hours between flights and I watched as a child ran from her mother. When the mom called her to come back, the child stopped, looked directly at her parent and said, “No.” She then carried on in the opposite direction. She was heading where she wanted regardless of what her parent said.
After witnessing a few episodes like this, I was reminded of the times I’ve acted like a travel weary child. My heavenly Father does not grant my every request. Usually I accept this but other times I’ve been known to repeat my desires over and over, getting louder and more insistent each time. Maybe he just didn’t hear or realize how important this was to me.
Then there are the times God asks me to wait and not run ahead. For my own safety, he wants me to stay close. Thinking I know what’s best for me, I don’t always listen.
Maybe God allowed me to witness the childish outbursts that day to remind me to rely on and trust in him. Not only when I feel like it, but in all circumstances.
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (Psalm 37:3 NLT)
In the living room of my childhood home sat a burgundy coloured Lazy Boy chair. The chair was upholstered in Naugahyde, a vinyl coated fabric that looked like leather. It was unlike any other piece of furniture in the room.
This special chair belonged to my father. As a child, I enjoyed the smooth texture and imposing size of this chair. I felt very grown up sitting in it. I knew, however, that it was not my chair and would vacate it in a hurry if I heard my father drawing near.
As I was reminiscing about this an even more important chair came to mind. It was the chair or throne of my heavenly father. I know this is not my place to sit but sometimes I can’t resist the urge to picture myself there. From this lofty perch, I attempt to rule my life. After all, don’t I know what’s best for me?
The simple answer to that question is, “No.” God is the one who knows the beginning from the end. He knows the plans that have been laid out for my life and the best way to achieve them. I tend to make a mess of things when I think I can handle life on my own. Fortunately, God can turn my mistakes into good – but only if I hand control back to him. These times serve as a good reminder that I am not God and shouldn’t be climbing up into his chair.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)