Last night I had a team meeting at church, so the kids were home with their father. When I got back I went into their rooms to say good night and I jumped in with Hannah for a minute:
Hannah: How was your meeting?
Me: It was good.
Hannah: What did you learn?
Me: We learned about staying motivated, about being obedient even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.
Hannah: Oh, like Jonah.
Me: Hey? (I have got to stop saying hey)
Hannah: Like when Jonah wasn’t listening but then after he got out of the whale he was obedient to God and he went to Nineveh, but he didn’t feel like it the first time.
Firstly, I was gobsmacked at her absolutely perfect pronunciation of Nineveh, when she can’t even say “probably” properly! She says “pahbly!”
But more than that, I can’t believe how she ‘gets it.’ We haven’t read this story in ages, yet it has stayed with her, and she knows this very important Bible truth. I mean the stuff I was learning about in an adult prayer meeting, this 4 year old summed up for me in a few words.
Obedience rules over emotion.
We have to be obedient to the Will of God even if we don’t feel like it. Even if we’re tired, or life gets busy, or it just becomes too hard. And obedience to God falls out of the parameters of just The Ten Commandments. We always think as long as we don’t kill, steal or commit adultery, we’re doing OK as Christians. Well actually, no. It means being a GREAT wife, even when I don’t feel like it, because God has called me to be a GREAT wife. It means being patient and loving and gentle with my children even when it’s really hard because they can be really difficult, because it is God’s will for me to be a GOOD mother to my children. It’s fitting in quiet time with God during every day because that is obedience to what God instructs us directly to do in His Word – even Jesus went aside from the crowds to have quiet time with His father and he was perfect! It’s helping the poor, it’s going out of your way for someone, it’s being up early every Sunday morning at my post where I volunteer, even if I’ve had a rough Saturday night and I’m tired, it’s staying away from gossip even when it’s REALLY hard because it’s such a juicy story. It’s forgiving others EEEVVEENN when you don’t want to, or it hurts, or you’ve been really offended.
Obedience to God rules over emotion – it trumps our feelings.
Oh boy, it’s hard. It’s SO hard. I have two special friends and together we’re trying to plough through the Bible – one book at a time (Captain America voice), and even that can be difficult for me. I get bored, I get tired, I find something else to do in that time. Doing the right thing is not always easy. It takes motivation and it takes making a decision to do so every single day. Putting aside your own desires, for the plans and purposes of God.
How do you know what God’s plan and purpose for your life is? Well how do you know what your plan and purpose at your work is? How do you know what your plan and purpose for your marriage is? You talk to your boss and you guys discuss your career path, right? You talk to your husband / wife and you guys discuss your hopes and dreams and your plans for your marriage, right? And you connect often to make sure everything is on track, right? And so it is with God. If we’re not talking to God, reading His Word, praying and praying and praying (x50000), then we may be confused about our purpose.
You know what always amazes me about other faiths and religions? The emphasis they place on KNOWING, MEMORISING, FILLING THEMSELVES with their “scriptures.” Jewish boys need to know and quote the Torah before they reach bar mitzvah. Muslims are urged to learn the Qur’an off by heart. But as a Christian. I’ve only recently come to understand the importance of knowing what the Bible says, what GOD is saying about keeping His words and storing up His commands within me. About guarding His teachings as the apple of my eye, about binding them on my fingers and writing them on the tablet of my heart (Prov 7:1-3). Growing up in a catholic family, DIRECTLY out of the Bible, I probably only learned the Our Father and I vaguely remember having to learn Matt 5: 3 – 10 before I was confirmed – The Sermon on the Mount. That was it. We had no other urge to read anything else in the Bible, other than a few verses on a Sunday at church.
I was chatting with my mother and sister, and we were talking about getting the kids (and me) to memorise Bible verses that speak truth and life and speak the promises of God. We need to KNOW these things, people. We need to be able to say it out loud, to motivate us and move us, to keep us focused on the goal, to keep us from succumbing to the challenges that life brings. If we don’t know what the Master is saying, how can we possibly know what we need to be doing? Yes, we have an idea but do we know word for word what God Almighty is saying?
My kids can recite poetry for days. And it gives me ABSOLUTE joy listening to them recite, truly I LOVE it! My granny used to love listening to us sing songs and say poems for her, and now I kind of know why. How much more when God hears us singing love songs back to Him? How much more when God hears us understanding and knowing and figuring out our lives according to His will?
So we started. If they can learn poetry, then they can very well learn the Bible. We’re learning Psalm 91 off by heart. The kids know verse 1 – 2 already. And when we say it together, let me tell you, I get goosebumps. It’s like praying – it’s like an infilling of the Holy Spirit, it’s like God’s Word COME ALIVE. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. THIS I declare of the Lord: He ALONE is my refuge, my place of safety; he is MY God, and I am trusting HIM.”
You see, I learned a lot of these things late in my life. But here I have the chance to get it right with Liam and Hannah. And if receiving this revelation so late has made such a difference in MY life (and most importantly in where I spend eternity hereafter), how much more amazing if I get to plant this seed for my kids NOW. If I can help set them up and position them for God to reveal Himself to them. This is part of my purpose, I have no doubt.
Obedience rules over emotion.