Saturday, June 23, 2007


There is nothing I pray about as much as for our children, their spouses, and our seven amazing grandchildren.

While praying for them this morning it occurred to me that my selfishness might be reflected in the disproportionate amount of time I spend praying for them compared to world evangelism and for resolution of needs such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, injustice, and other prevalent kinds of global suffering.

I don’t know if the next thought was my own rationalization or a word from the Spirit, but I recognized that love of family is not evil, but rather is a reflection of being made in the image of the heavenly Father who takes great delight in His only Son. The problem is not that I spend too much time praying for my immediate family, but that I spend too little praying for the vast global family of which I am also a part.

Further, while praying for our family recently, I’ve been convicted about the shallowness of many of my prayers. I realized that a great deal of my prayers were focused on the short-term happiness of my children as a result of their living “good Christian lives,” having strong marriages, being good parents, having success in their vocations, etc.

But now, nagging at the edge of my consciousness was the thought that God’s plan for our children may include pain and suffering through which God would ultimately be glorified, though not always by joyous deliverances this side of “the renewal of all things.”

If the Old Testament prophet Hosea’s parents prayed for him, I wonder how they felt about how God was glorified in his life? His wife was repeatedly unfaithful to him and presented him with children not his own. It could not have been a happy marriage and then she left him for her lovers. Yet in obedience to God, Hosea took her back, restored her as his wife, and showered her and her children with an unconditional love which for more than two thousand years has been an astounding object lesson of the love of God for His wandering people.

Do I really want God to be glorified in the lives of our children no matter what it takes? Is the glory of God more important than the comfortableness of my family? Am I willing to pray that God would be honored even if it is through great suffering in the lives of those for whom I would gladly die to protect them from the slightest pain?

I’m struggling, but finding myself increasingly asking God to glorify Himself through our children and grandchildren and leaving the details of “how” to His infinitely wise, loving, and eternal plan. Of course I want them spared from pain, and often ask for that without sense of guilt or selfishness. But I find myself whispering what our Lord exampled for us, “Nevertheless not my will but Yours be done.”

“Lord teach me to pray and to love Your glory more than anything. Thank you for assuring me that you are always good and that you love my children more than I ever could.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Gloria has a very attractive hanging fern just outside our front door. It requires a fair amount of water, so nearly every day one of us will run the hose into it for an extended time.

For a couple of days we were startled by a bird flying out of the fern. Inspecting, we discovered she was building a nest. We should have immediately removed the partly constructed structure, but waited a couple of days. When I went outside tonight to remove the nest before the mama bird became too attached to her site, I discovered . . . you guessed it…two eggs.

Now what do we do? If we immerse the fern every day, it will flood the nest. If we don’t, the fern may not survive. If we remove the nest, the eggs will be lost, and, I assume, the mother bird will grieve.

When you think about it, the location of the nest reflects really bad planning by the mother bird. She didn’t take into account the possibility that someone much bigger than her could frustrate her plan and obliterate her carefully prepared but ill-placed “nursery.”

Some of our plans are really bad too. Like our short-sighted, feathered friend, we don’t see the big picture. Our illadvised actions place us and others at risk.

Aren’t you glad that the all-powerful God is not in His nature a home-wrecker and egg smasher? He is loving and kind, and works His sure plan for the ultimate good of all who nest in Him.