â€œIf you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.â€
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Matthew 19:21-22 (NIV)
Peter replied, â€œMan, I donâ€™t know what youâ€™re talking about!â€ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: â€œBefore the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.â€ And he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:60-62 (NIV)
God has been speaking to me a lot these last 10 years about growing up. It has been in my spirit many times in these last few weeks and so it has been a topic in these devotions. For the last eight years I have received the encouragement and discipline from God firstâ€¦and then passed it on to you! J
Growing up is an adventure. It can be exciting. It can be painful. It can be those things for both child and parent! Strangely enough, today my thoughts as I read Scripture were not about me! It was about God and how He was looking at the rich young ruler in Matthewâ€™s gospel, Peter in Lukeâ€™s gospel, and me in my story.
God gave me free choice. I believe it was the wrapping on every gift He has given me â€“ from salvation to His wisdom. I have free choice to take His giftâ€¦or not. I have free choice to be obedient to His will and planâ€¦or not. He must stand back and let me make that choice. He cannot and will not make me do anything.
Standing back and allowing my brothers and sisters in the Lord, even my children, choose Godâ€™s path without my â€“ dare I say it? â€“interference â€“ is not easy. If God is about free choice and wants His children to grow up then for me to step in â€“ no matter how good the intentions â€“ is disobedient and not Godâ€™s will for my life nor the one I love. But it is so hard! A good friend said true words when she admonished us to utilize â€œmaximum prayer â€“ minimum contactâ€!!!
September 21, 2004 will be a day forever burned into my life. Hurricane Ivan had blown through our home town leaving massive destruction in its wake. We live in a trailer and so we had stayed with friends for almost a week. On this day, we returned home to 50% power but grateful we had a home! We returned home in timeâ€¦for our son, James, to die. I remember this day specifically because after battling cancer together for the past five years, I had to step back and watch James make this final part of this journeyâ€¦without me. Maybe I caught a glimpse of Godâ€™s heart as He watched His Son make that journey to the cross alone. Maybe I could sense Jesusâ€™ heart as He looked at Peter across Pilateâ€™s courtyard. Maybe I can learn about the Fatherâ€™s love as He watches me struggle with a sin that I do not want to give up. I donâ€™t know. I just know that it was, without a doubt, the hardest, most painful 24 hours of my life.
If we weep over those we love while allowing them to forge their relationship with Jesus in the fire of adversity as a growing child of God, may we also receive His comfort because we know that He loves even more and better than we do!