I enjoyed today's sermon. It was on Psalm 73. The basic summary is that the psalmist is having a hard time, and looking around and seeing others who seem to have an easier, more comfortable life but who do not know God. At first, he is envious and a bit confused about why God should let 'bad things happen to good people', until he comes into the presence of God and sees the bigger picture. There, he is reminded that what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. Our life here, for better or for worse, for easier or for harder, is only a small part of the bigger picture.
It was a helpful reminder. Even though I know these things, there are times when it is easy to look sideways and to covet what somebody else has - whether that be peace, or a seemingly more supportive extended family, or different opportunities, or many other things. But the amazing thing is that God knows what we need, and He knows what He is doing. Sometimes hard things do happen - illnesses, disappointments, frustrations, bereavements, loneliness, persecutions, financial uncertainty, challenges in the workplace - and God knows these things will happen. But God does not change, and often through these hardships we have to trust Him more, and focus more on the greatest things of all - not material things, not health, not status or popularity, but God Himself. I enjoyed peacefully reflecting on how good and wise God is, and on His amazing provision and faithfulness to our family through the years. (And I was able to reflect peacefully as my boys are now able to sit well through the service and to listen and learn from the sermon too - something which I am thankful for, and thankful to my husband for making this a priority from when they were tiny - our reasons for this are commented on here and here).
I particularly enjoy coming home after church and asking the boys what they have learnt. We ask them to draw something which depicts an aspect of the sermon, and it can be quite interesting to see what the different children come up with. Today we did not have time to draw as we had visitors, but it was a very helpful passage to talk through.
It has also been interesting to consider sources of encouragement and discouragement. This week I was very encouraged by some text messages from a single friend who really seems to understand why we have made the choices we have with regard to the boys education and the things which we avoid exposure to (such as television). Her housegroup had been discussing the saying 'give me a child until he is seven and I'll give you the man', attributed to St Francis Xavier, and some older ex-missionaries had adopted a lifestyle similar to ours - even years ago, seen as counter cultural and a bit odd, but spiritually so profitable. Conversely, I sometimes feel discouraged regarding our choices by people within the church - when we first returned from overseas there were quite a few negative remarks about our house (it is a perfectly well situated three bedroom house with a large kitchen, which God has blessed us with and where we've had much opportunity for hospitality). Lately, because of the stage my husband and I have reached with work, there is also a subtle indication that we would be 'expected' to change lifestyle slightly. It frustrates me because things should not be that way, but frustrates me even more because I realised this morning that I had allowed myself to be subtly influenced by these lies. So this morning's sermon was perfectly timed enabling me to re-set the compass and focus again on what we believe God has called us to. (I must also learn from this too - that it can be easy to cause another to stumble, without necessarily meaning to. And similarly, to remember that we can build up and encourage others who have very different walks of life to our own - all part of the beauty of being part of a family of believers).
So this evening, I simply want to remind you that God is good. He knows what you need. Read Matthew Chapter 6, and consider how He really does know all your needs, but that your priority is to seek to live for Him first of all, and to trust Him for the rest.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.