We thought You’d come

Today You told me about a teapot of lard.
Of two families whose fathers were taken into labor camps for the sake of preaching Your word, and food was rationed, to be purchased only by food vouchers.
Of one mother who showed true friendship to her sister in the Lord, that she saved and the fat from the meat she cooked to her friend and her friend’s children, that they can better flavour their food, while she and her children continued with the rations given.

And this story was told by the son of the mother who received the gift.

My takeaways:
1. The embarrassment that my first reaction to ‘lard’ was of disgust until I heard the full story. The embarrassment that in the excessively abundant world I live in, nutrition is king, and I did not consider the difficulty of their times. Food is so abundant here, we do not know the blessings of what it means to eat and to be full.

2. That the spiritual well-being of our children must be valued more than the physical. Parents want children to do well in life, which is good. We want our children to be healthy, and this is good and necessary. But to have their lives rooted in the Lord, to value this first, beyond academic education. To see their spiritual health as necessary as their physical health, to care as urgently for both. A parent’s greatest worry is for how their children will be cared for if anything should happen to them… But in recent weeks, hearing of sacrifice of godly parents in faith-restricted countries continue to serve, knowing the danger it is to themselves, knowing the risk to their families (and of course, it would have been safer to be quiet, to hide their faith)… They still continued. And families were separated. And the children suffered alongside their parents. And sometimes, without their parents.

And yet. And yet I see how these children grew strong in faith in the Lord. In seeing how real their parents’ faith was, how they lived it out, how they gave God their all and lived by obedience to His Word… The children followed.

Oh, and is that not the best thing we can give our children?
We can give them a good education.
And we make sure they are in the best health.
But what of eternity?

Do we believe and live out the reality of eternity before the children?

An old couple told me the biggest deterrent to the faith of children is hypocrisy from their parents.
Children have the clearest minds.
They sense falsehood better than lie detectors.
They watch and they know.

How can we live consistently before the Lord and before the children?
To walk our talk daily?

For me, it begins with a change in my values.
To value a child’s spiritual well-being first.
Knowing that health and education are essential, and these we will care for.
But to pray first that they may know the Lord, and follow Him in true, faithful and joyful obedience — this would be my first prayer for a child.

The lesson was on Jonathan’s friendship with David.
That love and loyalty was on mutual faith on God; they both saw that God was stronger than their circumstance.
That God’s promise would stand and have victory.
The children’s faith was greater than the parents’ sight and logic.
And God showed victory by their faith.

 

 

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No less faithful

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O how high would I climb mountains
If the mountains were where You hide
O how far I’d scale the valleys
If You graced the other side

O how long have I chased rivers
From lowly seas to where they rise
Against the rush of grace descending
From the source of its supply

In the highlands and the heartache
You’re neither more or less inclined
I would search and stop at nothing
You’re just not that hard to find

So I will praise You on the mountain
And I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way
You’re the summit where my feet are
So I will praise You in the valleys all the same
No less God within the shadows
No less faithful when the night leads me astray
You’re the heaven where my heart is
In the highlands and the heartache all the same

O how far beneath Your glory
Does Your kindness extend the path
From where Your feet rest on the sunrise
To where You sweep the sinner’s past

O how fast would You come running
If just to shadow me through the night
Trace my steps through all my failure
And walk me out the other side

For who could dare ascend that mountain
That valley’ed hill called Calvary
But for the One I call Good Shepherd
Who like a lamb was slain for me

Whatever I walk through
Wherever I am
Your Name can move mountains
Wherever I stand

And if ever I walk through
The valley of death
I’ll sing through the shadows
My song of ascent…

From the gravest of all valleys
Come the pastures we call grace
A mighty river flowing upwards
From a deep but empty grave

 

 

It’s often at the ascent, during the steep climb fueled by the hope of what may await at the top…
That I find I have let go of Your hand.
And it is at the peak…
Then the inevitable descent, and on the plateau, that I remember You.
You were walking with me the whole time, and I did not know it.
I am asked to look back now.
This moment seems like an ascent.
To what, Lord?
Where to?
Only You know.
But teach me to look to You, even during this ascent.
And at the peak, to thank You for the lesson and the perspective it brought.
That perhaps, a little more then, I may see as You see.
And at the descent…
Or the duller plateau…
To remember the lessons during the ascent.
And the view at the peak.
And should I meet others who climb up, to cheer them for what there is to see.
To cherish those whom You’ve sent during the plateau.
To enjoy their company but not deter each other beyond that.
To part in peace…
And if You send that climber, walking at the same pace, to the same place, for the same purpose.
Lord, do let me know then.