We are creatures of habit at the VanBuren household. At 8:00pm it is time for fruit – 8:30 devotion time and brush teeth then story in bed and prayers like clock work. As we are tucking Joshua and Emma in bed and giving good-night kisses, Andrea retires to our bedroom to read before bed. One particular night she wanted to stay with Kristi and i to play cards. Just a few minutes into the game, Joshua begins to have some anxiety and begins to call for us. The problem was that he was in the habit of having his older sister in the room beside him with the light on reading. But on this night she was not. I asked him what was wrong and he said this, “I just feel safe with Andrea close by”.
I was floored that once again the Lord used one of my children to teach and illustrate the importance and safety of God’s presence in our lives. Throughout the scriptures we read amazing nuggets like “I will never leave you nor forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5 and many passages detailing the kind of protection and comfort the Lord gives us like, “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope” – Ps. 119:114 and “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety” – Ps. 18:2.
Joshua felt the safety of Andrea’s presence. He knew that alone, he was not as strong and vulnerable. We should learn from this that we need the presence of God in our lives. We need to feel Him close to us. We need to be so close that when we drift away that we can tell the difference and that we are in trouble and unsafe. We need that kind of dependance on one so strong and so powerful, so loving and caring. We need Christ.
We would do well to have the heart of the Psalmist who wrote, “But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay” Ps. 70:5. Won’t you give your heart and life to the calmer and creator of the wind and waves and experience the kind of peace that a child feels when we are close by. Jesus is waiting to take you in and love and protect you.
Lord, I pray that you would take my feeble attempt at story telling to reach someone that feels uncertain about life and needs the kind of safety that only you can provide. You are powerful O God and strong – thank you for saving me. Amen!
Back during the summer of last year I was very excited to get my lawn mower back from being repaired. It’s a push mower with the big wheels in the back and really cuts better than most mowers, even riders. The grass in the back yard was just starting to get a little height on it when i finally got the chance to cut it. Now a lot of stuff goes through my mind during cutting so bear with me. I usually try to focus on making the straightest rows that i can make – almost obsessively. I found really quickly that if you focus on the end of where your row will end it will be remarkably straight. Just to test myself I would focus directly in front on the mower and the row was all over the place and i would have to go back and fox all those little sprigs that were sticking up that i missed. But once my focus moved to the finish line I had a straight, clean row.
WOW! So many verses come to mind. I find it amazing that the Lord used cutting the grass to get my attention. In Phil. 3:14 we are urged to “press towards the mark”, “to seek after it eagerly”. Pressing towards the mark is the opposite of missing the mark which is in biblical terms sin. We are unable to walk the straight line that we are called to do (Matt. 7:14) if our eyes are not focused on the end result or the prize.
If we focus on the end; on the goal, there is much less pain and suffering in life – less back tracking. We are told in scripture that the “path” is “narrow” and the gate is “straight”and that teaches us that we have a lot of pressure on both sides; that it is difficult. But think of the reward waiting for those that strive to be like Christ – to be Christ-like – To please our Father in Heaven – To be a true Follower of Christ.
Lord, I pray that we would always be aware of Your presence in our lives no matter what task we are undertaking and that You would use every moment as a teaching tool to make us more like You. Amen.