I love the Old Testament. As Christians I think we tend to gravitate toward the New Testament, but there’s really nothing like the OT to make us realize just how much we all (sinners and saints alike) need grace to be close to God.
To elaborate my point, here’s a quick OT recap: God creates children. Children scorn God. God frees enslaved children. Children scorn God. God destroys enemies. Children scorn God. God guides children to the Promised Land. Children scorn God. You get the picture.
We’ve heard the stories… but have you ever taken notice that despite all this defiance that our totally omniscient God was never shocked? Never caught off-guard in surprise? Nope, and in fact, He often foretold of His people’s wandering ways, knowing full well their hearts were opposed to Him and His commands.
God responded time and again with grace, always giving His children yet another opportunity to come closer to Him.
At times, our households may feel like the Fall of Man: Home Edition, complete with the scorn of our own children. We may even find ourselves shocked by how often our children need (re)instruction involving the simplest of things.
But I’m learning that shock can really be dangerous. Shock becomes impatient when it can’t believe we’re doing this (again!) Shock passes judgment on a child who’s fighting his own sinful nature. Shock loses hope when we wonder if we’ll ever get this figured out.
I’ve decided that for grace to truly take a hold in our home, I have to give grace like God does. I have to refuse to be shocked when things go awry.
Now, the not-being-omniscient thing does make this challenging. But there are just some things that generations of parents have been plagued by that really shouldn’t surprise us. Things such as:
Chronically ignored requests (and the thousands of accompanying reminders)
Liberal interpretations of the truth (read: lying)
Flagrant expressions of self (vocal, visual, or otherwise)
Self-indulgent playtime habits (aka “sharing”)
Rejection of any/all parental efforts (especially those involving a vegetable)
In the long-term view of grace, these daily derailments are perfect opportunities for God’s grace to be revealed in our hearts and poured into the lives of our children. For eternal gain. Grace gives guidance and love abundantly, delighting in the experience of showing God’s love, day after day, right in our very homes.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Maybe you’re reading this right now and feeling like you’re a long way off from “delighting” in your bounty of grace-giving opportunities. All that scorn can make us weary (as is keeping up with the discipline of said scorn).
But don’t forget, discipline was still a part of the equation in the OT stories too (Spoiler Alert: Moses doesn’t make it to the Promised Land). But in correcting His children, God never ceases to remind us of all He has done, and all He will do. When He disciplines, God fills us with hope so that we have the power (His power) to do the same.
“Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4, NASB).
Written by Michelle Hutchison