Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhogs and Crystal Balls

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could stand around in the cold, waiting for some old guy in a top hat to hold up a fat groundhog named Phil, and find out what the next six weeks would bring for our kids?  Or look into a crystal ball and see what the next six years might be like?  Maybe we could be better prepared.  Maybe we could hold onto hope a little bit easier on those days when hope seems so elusive. 

Well, for what it’s worth, Happy Groundhog’s Day.

Everyone has pain or trouble at some point in their lives.  While some people are very private and stoic about their pain, we all just want a little reassurance during those times.  We all just want someone to say, “I know it’s tough right now.”  So why do so many of us think we’re building someone else up by telling them hurtful things, while we lie to ourselves thinking that we’re helping?

My intent for this blog is to share our family’s struggles and joys as we continue to raise two kids who come from a painful past.  My intent is to share our therapeutic parenting successes as well as our failures – or maybe our “learning experiences.”  I’ve mentioned I cannot hide my faith as I write, but I do not usually make it a practice to “preach” here.  Fair warning:  Today may sound a little more like preaching than sharing.  I’m a little tired of certain people beating down other certain people, while they tell themselves they’re “being helpful” or “telling the truth.”  I’m a little tired of certain people not giving a thought to someone else’s feelings, but thinking very highly of themselves and how much more spiritually enlightened they are over others.

3 A bruised reed he will not break, 
   and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. 
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 
 4 he will not falter or be discouraged 
till he establishes justice on earth. 
   In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
-- Isaiah 42:3-4

Ignoring someone’s pain and telling them they need to do this or that, or much worse, telling them they’re “giving into Satan and the world’s lies” only causes the pain to become deeper.  The very unloving trend to “tell the truth in love” is anything but, and certainly nothing like Jesus’ dealings with people.  Indeed, it is far more Pharisee than Christ-like.  Before Jesus gives the following instruction in the last verses of Matthew 6, He instructs his followers to give to the needy, to pray simply (and not go on and on), to fast, and to store up treasures in Heaven.  Right after this, in Matthew 7, He tells His followers not to judge others.

What if the Church dropped its anger, its resentment, and its holier-than-thou “instruction?” What if it were more ready to counsel hurt people with Isaiah 42:3-4?  What if we stopped assuming we know everything there is to know – or at least more than the next guy?  What if WE placed our own worries for each other into His hands?  What if we mourned with those who mourn, and sought Him for the comfort He promises?  What if we offered grace long before we offered any instruction?  Would the one we sought to comfort, or to teach, trust us more?  Would they allow us into their pain?  Would we be in a much better, and much more servitude position, so that we could offer the assurance Christ gives in Matthew 6?

  25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.   – Matthew 6:25-34

Could we be in a better position to help our kids just for today, even if we cannot see six weeks into the future?

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