News & Events
- June 9, 2017
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted. – Isaiah 49:13
The older I get the more I am convinced that every moment of our childhood is designed to prepare us for what we’ll see and do as adults. Some of these things are direct connections which result in life lessons learned “the hard way.” One good example of this would be most every bicycle ramp ever built by a seven-year-old.
The other, more impactful (figuratively – most bike ramps also led to an impact) lesson comes in the indirect category of “now that I’m a parent I can see what mom & dad meant by that.” Think about the myriad of things that your children do that lead you to the thought you dread the most – the realization that you have become your mom or dad! These moments frustrate you because they not only remind you of what a schmuck you were as a child, but you can’t EVER tell your parents about them without giving them the hearty laugh of justice which can only come from seeing their grandchildren returning the favor!
While these moments may provide older generations with a sense of fairness in the universe, for me they provide the realization that God prepared me for this stage of life from an early age. As a young boy, I made the many decisions that landed me in a tricky situation. One often happened when my mom would take me shopping with her at K-Mart. Once we walked in the door I would make my way over to the video game section. They would have a console set up where you could play a home video game system for free. It goes without saying that this was the place to be for most of the kids, so in my mind I didn’t need to use actual words to tell my mother that was where I was headed – she should just know! It was this logic that always baffled me when she would approach me in the middle of a game of Q-Bert with a “panigry” (an adjective describing a person who is feeling a little panicky but mostly angry) look on her face. This was followed by a lecture about wandering off and a promise to never bring me to K-Mart ever again (until next time).
This scenario played out over and over again during my childhood, and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal.
Until one day, many years later when I took my son, Wesley, with me to JC Penney.
We were shopping for winter coats and while looking at the sizes and prices of these oversized coats for what seemed like only a moment, I noticed that Wesley was nowhere to be found. I called his name but there was no answer. My heart began to race as it fell into the pit of my stomach. My eyes scanned the store in every direction in the hope that I would catch a glimpse of where he’d gone. As I walked around the coat rack to get a better look of the other side of the store I caught an odd sight out of the corner of my eye. It was a little tuft of blonde hair on top of an angelic face sporting a giant smile peeking out between two coats. Wesley had stepped into the round coat rack, totally hidden from my sight but never more than a few feet away from me.
At that same moment my mother, who was sitting in her kitchen over one hundred miles away, began smiling for no apparent reason.
That shopping trip serves not only as sweet revenge but also as a reminder of those things we learn as we age. When we were children we didn’t fully understand the dangers that existed in the world because if we knew where our parents were or could hear their voice, we knew that we were safe. As parents we fully understand all of the perils of life and only feel safe when we know that our children are close enough to be within eyesight and earshot.
As Christians, how fortunate we are to have the best of both worlds. We have a God who loves us so much that He has promised to always be with us and to never leave or abandon us. We also can go about our lives with the full assurance that God is always there to hear us. In joy or sorrow, illness or health, poverty or plenty, weakness, strength, or any other situation we may encounter, God is there to keep us safe until the moment He comes to deliver us to our Heavenly home. May we always be thankful for this great love, for the sacrifice of Jesus which makes this possible…
and for the promise that someday our kids will get to go through the very same thing!
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services