Forboding: implying or seeming to imply that something bad is going to happen. This is the state of most believers when we consider that God wants to "teach" us something. Why must this be so? Is it primarily because we view our own way as so correct that it must be an invasion of privacy (or an invasion of authority more accurately) for God to presume on us a "Lesson?" Either way, what we have is a dilemma. A dilemma that is dire to say the least.
Last Thursday night we were on the eve of our departure from the hospital stay when I was able to get out and see the rest of the family for a bit. I went home, ate a late dinner, played some "football tackle"(Ollie's words), read a Bible story, and put the family to bed - then headed back to be with Jada. By the time I had arrived back in the room I was able to talk with our nurse (Kim - who is fantastic by the way) about the goings on while I was away. She informed me that Jada was very talkative and somewhat challenging of authority...I acted surprised like one does at Christmas when they "don't know" what they are receiving (just kidding I had to confront the issue). I asked Kim what they had talked about. She was informing me that Jada was telling her all about this Job book we have been reading.
Jada had meandered all over the conversational road map and finally settled on asking our nurse some questions while I was away. Now let me just say before I go any further, that children can put the pressure on their parents like none other. Jada has never been an exception to this rule and I am quite certain she had a part in the penning of it originally. After many questions and just a LOT of activity in the room while I was gone, Jada asked Kim, "Did you know Jesus before my dad talked to you?" Now, this question assumes a few things that immediately put me behind the eight ball. One, it assumes I have spearheaded this specific conversational effort. Two, others have wanted to hear what I have to say. Finally, it assumes that I have, when I open my mouth, something coherent and useful to say.
As our nurse is telling me this I am thinking, "thanks Jada, appreciate that one." The more I thought about it, however, I realized that God NEVER WASTES a trial. One usually considers how it is that their children call them to account via their actions or lack of control. You know what I'm talking about... as parents we have the right of refusal - if I am ever wrong and my child calls me out on it, I can always refuse to admit fault and cite parental sovereignty. Sparing a long explanation, just realize this is one way our children provide a second holy spirit influence. However, it is not the aforementioned mode of conviction I wish to discuss. I wish to touch briefly on how our children hold us to account positively.
I love that my daughter is straight at it in regards to faith. And while this provides for funny stories or apt sermon anecdotes - it also places a positive challenge on myself and Jessica. God's use of this trial, Jessica and I are learning, is that we mature in order that He may be glorified. I can choose to mope or be discouraged continually in my own strength. OR I can choose, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be upheld by the strong arm of God and look at the day of trouble and say as the Psalmist says in 112:6-7, "For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is FIRM, TRUSTING IN THE LORD."
There is more danger in my not speaking to literally everyone about Jesus in plain terms such as the ones Jada employs. What is that danger you may ask? Well, as simple as I can state it - one may actually thinkthey are the ones weathering the storm. There is really nothing special about Jessica or myself or our family for that matter . . . IF NOT FOR JESUS!
The words of Peter in 1 Peter 4:1-2 have given shape to my conviction in a very poignant way these last few days and I wish to make them know to the reader for their encouragement in the faith. "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is DONE with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." It is clearly more than noteworthy that there are only two places in the NT where we are commanded to assume an attitude or posture of the heart EXACTLY like Christ, here and Phil. 2:5 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." The Peter passage dealing with suffering and the Phil. passage dealing specifically with humility set the tone for a SAVIOR that is minuscule by the world's measures but of inestimable value to those who believe. Might we mimic the Lord Jesus in these two areas with perseverance in order that we mature and He be GLORIFIED!