Holding your own child for the first time is one of the greatest joys ever.
Seeing your grown child make a desperately bad choice is one of the most gut wrenching experiences on this planet. We can’t know what lies ahead. So depending on previous experiences – or our level of optimism – we can cling to hope or be driven to despair.
God made us and held us when we were born. He watches us make really bad choices. A huge difference between our parenting and God’s parenting is that He knows the end of our choices. So the depth of pain – or joy – He must feel has to be incredibly greater than what we feel. And he feels that millions of times over.
A super popular verse these days is Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God spoke that to his servant Jeremiah when the Israelites were in exile – living in the land of people who defeated them in battle. They were not having a good time. They were definitely missing their favorite BBQ. And Babylonian guitars just didn’t sound quite right.
But God somehow knew that it was best for them to be in that foreign place. He didn’t send a FedEx overnight delivery with a plane ticket out of there. They had to wait for the right time to be restored to their home.
We don’t know when our pain will be done. Or how long our joy will last. God does. And we can rest in knowing He has a purpose for allowing what we’re going through.
Meanwhile, let’s learn to appreciate the sound of those Babylonian guitars.
Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.