Monday, December 10, 2018
"Brothers and sisters: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. . . And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value. . ." -[Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11].
My son wonders why I worry so much about him? I tell him that, "Worry is the province of motherhood (and fatherhood)." I don't fret over him because I want to script his life or control his every waking moment.
I want him to have a good life, not one fraught with recklessness or poor judgment. A life of Joy, and of discovering his gifts, to be employed for the sheer delight in it. . . but also a life of exercising those gifts for the benefit of others.
Just when I feel slightly guilty or foolish about all these motherly concerns, I remember that these are the things that God wants for my son, for me, and for all of US.
I am all too capable of becoming too anxious over my son's progress. I think this stems from the lack of Faith in my family growing up. I was taught that there is no God, that we are solely responsible for ourselves. If something negative happens in life, it is all our own fault. And the only person who will dig us out of that hole is . . ourselves.
The presumptions in this world view are inspiring, yes. We can strive and work and progress, and each person is limited by only their own individual efforts and talents.
But, the hidden message in these presumptions is that if you find yourself in serious trouble, it is your own fault for landing there. And no one will help you dig yourself out.
I cannot live in a world where everything is humanly possible but where you "deserve exactly what you get." I want a world where there IS a God, and where He wants the best for us. I want a world where all things are possible, not just because of my human effort, but also because of God's Divine guidance.
I say "guidance" because God expects us to be active and to use our God-given efforts and talents. People misperceive Christians as helpless folks who sit around waiting for God to make all things happen.
But as much as we work and strive and finagle, we humans are a faulty, weak lot, given to mistakes, failures, ego and frustrated efforts. I am not big enough, strong enough to hold up the world. I need God to fill in my blanks, to complete me.
I was talking to another mom recently and I said that my son, now 18, has completed the expected stages in life. He has rolled over, sat up, crawled, walked, learned to feed and dress himself, learned to read, to swim, to ride a bike, has learned long division and learned to fish and use a computer. All of these developmental stages are like a script for a young life. By six months, they sit up, by nine months they crawl, by 12 months they walk.
Now he is 18 and in university. And there is no script! And he is away from home much of the time! How do I know if he is still progressing? And what does "progressing" even mean? What does he study? Who is he friends with? How does he spend his free time? What will his future be?
The other mom told me, "Now is when God comes in. And Faith. God leads our children on a suggested path. It is up to your son to 'talk to God' and walk the walk."
Then a third mom chimed in. She quoted Philippians 1:6 - "God, who began a good work in you, will carry it to completion." In other words, God's intent is never to begin a good work in his children and then let it drop.
Believing in God's best intentions for us and having Faith that His Love will guide us is what has given me comfort, when I am anxious about how incomplete I feel, or how worried I feel about my shortcomings, or about the uncertainties of my son's future.
What I pray for my son is this: "I am confident of this, that the One who began a good work in you will continue to complete it. And this is my prayer: That your Love may increase more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ."
(c) Spiritual Devotional 2018. All Rights Reserved.