It’s the word my son received in an email to me from his teacher yesterday. While grasping the strap of his backpack, swinging fifty pounds over one shoulder and lifting a textbook in the other, I told him, “Your teacher gave you an exemption on that project that mysteriously vanished from the inbox on her desk a few weeks ago.”
His shoulders slumped as he leaned into the chair, the news was the tipping point on the weight he was carrying. Holding the tension of the lost project on the back burner of his thoughts, the exemption was now simmering in the forefront. “Thank goodness,” he whispered.
There is a sacred journey we choose as mothers. Do we allow our children to experience consequences of short cuts and dead ends or take the wheel when they aren’t steering properly? My son’s first year of high school has proved to be a lesson in travelling to a new destination without a road map.
I’ve learned as we’ve stopped, turned around, and re-traced our path that my children’s struggles and difficulties are not a reflection of my failures as a parent. Choosing a circuitous route doesn’t always mean I am to step in and control the situation with answers that help them get there faster.
Walking through the wilderness of your circumstance doesn’t mean God has forgotten you. No, it is quite the opposite.
He withholds from you, not because he forgets, but because he wants you to know that living by the bread of accomplishment is meaningless. Every word that comes from his mouth is nourishment that fuels your calling. Choose to eat it daily and know you aren’t forgotten. (Deut. 8:1-4)
For the first time in my life, I felt discouraged by new knowledge of God’s character. 2013 was the year of sadness; endless days of lament. Tears of disillusionment followed the selfish choices of others. I didn’t understand why He would allow innocent people to suffer unjust consequences.
And then I read this: He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10)
This is good news for me, but not the words I want to hear for my enemies, for those who hurt me, if I’m honest.
God is called El Roi or The God Who Sees by Hagar for the first time in Genesis (16:13). You may know the story — when Abraham and Sarah feel forgotten in barrenness they choose to control the circumstance with a surrogate in Hagar instead of waiting in the wilderness, and they all end up in quite a mess.
Instead of shaking his finger and saying, I told you so, God does the incomprehensible. He lavishes them with love and kindness by fulfilling a promise. Not because he wants them to feel better about wrong choices but because he overlooks their sin and remembers their faith. (Hebrews 11:11-12)
Your life and mine, they are not sentences to be carried out. We are exempt from the penalty of our failures when we relinquish control of life outcomes.
He finds you in the wilderness, he sees you, and remembers that you are dust. (Psalm 103:14)