Sunday, June 5, 2011

No Guarantees

Today's passage:  Proverbs 22:6
   "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
   Lord, I'm wondering how this verse applies if You take them before they are old?  I'm asking this question today, because our church and school is mourning the loss of one of our teenagers.  I don't know all the details, but it was sudden and tragic.  I went to bed last night thinking about this young man, about how I'd seen him grow up.  I thought about summer day camps, he was one of our most energetic boys (that hadn't changed).  I thought about recently, when I didn't even know he could sing, and was delighted to discover he had a wonderful voice.  I recalled ribbing him on Saturday visitations about an inadvertent remark he had made about my not being cool.  I thought about how the kids loved to see him scale the school wall to retrieve playground balls from the school roof.  My heart is heavy.
     I'm thinking about his mother this morning. I'm thinking about the phone call she took that would have caused me to collapse to the floor.  I'm thinking about the news on the other end that would have caused me to crumple in tears.  I'm thinking, "But he's not old yet.  He's still in training."  I'm thinking that I don't know how long the Lord will allow me to have my children.  Might he take them before me?  What about all the plans I have for them?  What about all the things I still plan to do with them?  What if I am the one to get that call?  I tried to read from Nahum this morning, but my mind just kept going back to the verse in Proverbs.  I just kept wondering, "But Lord, what if You don't allow them to get old?"  I know His way is perfect, I know it is beyond my understanding.  I know that we are grieving but this teen is celebrating with God because he gave a testimony of salvation.  I know all that.  I'm just struggling with it all a little this morning.  Our pastor says that God gives you the grace you need, when you need it, and not before.   Father God,  give this mother Your grace today.  Give that family Your grace.  Overflow our church and school with it.  Lord, there are teenagers that do not understand what You are doing.  They are puzzled at this. I have to tell my little boy today.  Lord, You know how these young ones look up to our teenagers.  I'm not in charge, Lord, You are.  You allow me to question You when I don't understand.  Above all, Lord, if there are young people who are playing church, who don't really know You, let this be a wake up call that life on earth is not guaranteed, only eternal life is.  Let them make sure that it will be eternally with You.

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