The other day, my teenage son sat down on the couch and tearfully poured out his heart about the approaching shift from high school to college. So many lasts. So many firsts. And I wonder how things will turn out. If my husband and I said enough, did enough, held on tight enough, let them go enough… Did we? Because, just when I think we might have, they tie their hammock thirty feet up into the backyard tree, or walk out to the bonfire with a cup of gasoline.
It comforts me to know that God is a parent, too. Even in the no guarantees part of life, I know God parented a son. And watched him go.
The book of Isaiah has been a powerful teacher to me lately. Chapter 30:19-22 is a promise to all who lose their way–We are loved by a God Who restores us, and then goes on to put life in perspective. After the people of Israel go through a troubling time, this passage declares the “Teacher will not hide anymore.” It goes on to say “When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Not if, but when, I mess up, there is no finger wagging in my face. There is a God Who teaches me the way back. He runs out to greet me, He searches for me when I’m lost, His rod and staff are sources of comfort. He is so close I can hear His specific guidance.
Then, He remains close as we continue on. Jesus teaches the way, then expects us to walk in it. He wants us to do more than know what to do. We follow through and honor God when we “walk in it”.
Then, as I follow Christ, the things which led me astray get placed in proper perspective. V. 22 “Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and gold plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags.” What can compare to the glory of God? Everything I thought was so valuable, so worth straying away from God over, is seen for what it is—not even fit to be a rag. Because, come on, a filthy rag is useless. When compared to the abundant life with God, these idols and rags lose their grip.
I am not sure if my husband and I will have ever done enough, but I know God has. And, equipped with His Spirit, our guys have everything they need. When they stray, or life tempts them with idols, they have a God Who loves them and is as close as the air they breathe.
The other night I was at a heart-wrenching memorial service of a friend who died tragically at the hands of her own son. Her mother stood up just as the service was concluding. It was unplanned, but she was given the microphone anyway. No one could imagine what this woman would say in all her grief over her daughter. But, she continued. “Forgive him.” she said, speaking of her grandson who took the life of her daughter. “Pray for him.”
If an Earthly mother can love so profoundly, so defiantly despite her circumstances, how much more does our heavenly Father love us?
Enough to walk with us, show us the way, and ask us to lay down our filthy rags and follow Him.