This past weekend, I took my three bigger kids to a water park. We met my sister and her family there. We had a blast riding all sorts of water slides and doing the lazy river. Let me tell you though – it was a workout carrying big inner tubes up all those stairs!! I was whooped by the end of the day!
At one point, I stayed and watched my daughter and nephew play in the splash ground kiddie area while my two bigger boys went with my sister and her husband to ride some scarier slides. I stayed close to them and kept a constant lookout. I knew that in the blink of an eye, someone could snatch them or hurt them if I wasn’t careful. However, there were other parents laying out in chairs, tanning or sitting in chairs and looking at their phones. If something happened to their kid, they never would know.
It occurred to me that this greatly exemplifies two possible reactions to the Lord in the midst of our pain. Yes, life hurts, but do we just sit out from the fight and throw our hands up? Sweet friend, 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” Satan is not some spectator in the crowd. No, he’s far more dangerous than that. There is nothing he would like more than for you to curl up in misery and give up. He enjoys taking a believer out of the fight. If we concentrate ourselves and our pain and the difficulty of our circumstances, we become an easy target for Satan. He uses self-pity to derail our faith and keep us from making a difference for the Lord. Sister, we are walking on the water toward Jesus. We were thrust into the ocean of uncertainty when we lost our husbands. Now what will we do? Will we keep our eyes on Christ and allow him to guide us in the scary waves of the sea? Or will we look at the waves around us and drown in our own fear and depression? It’s a choice, and it can have eternal consequences.
If you’re like me, you have precious little ones that your husband left you with. Honor him and the Lord by raising them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) You must be vigilant – both for yourself and your children. There are so many things vying for the attention and devotion of our kids. We live in a crooked and twisted generation. They’re told that everywhere they look that sex outside of marriage is fine, abortion is permissible, pornography is OK, living for yourself and your own happiness is the norm. All of these are false messages, but they will be seen at least at some level by your kids. We must counter these messages with the truth of God. Don’t give up doing daily Bible study with your kids. Pick a time that works for you and stick to it. Teach them memory verses. They’re like sponges and can soak them up so easily. Teach them catechism questions that teach them doctrine in a simple q & a format. There’s many things we can fail at, but let us not fail at this task of pouring the truth of God into our children while they are still young. Let them see our faith. Show them that life can be hard and unexpected, but God is still good and he is still in control, despite everything. This may be the very thing they need to see in order to conquer their own wrestling match with God.
In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles all night with God. This passage never made much sense to me, but after losing Trevor, I think I can relate more clearly. Jacob wrestled with God. He prevailed and became a better, more faithful man, but he also walked with a limp. When we wrestle with God in the stillness of the night and the darkness of our pain, we can prevail by the power of the Holy Spirit. We will become stronger in our faith, but we still may limp slightly through the rest of our lives because of the pain we’ve experienced. But like Jacob, it’s better to limp a little and walk closer to the Lord than to never limp at all.
God’s still with us, sister. Stay in the fight. Be vigilant. Don’t give up. Keep fighting for the hearts and faith of your children. Teach them the truth of God, and show them why the world’s messages are wrong. Then pray and trust God with the outcome.