We're going through a hope-shattering time in our family. That is if I'm putting my hope in my children or my circumstances. I know this well because I've put my hope in my children for most of the 20+ years I've been a parent.
Even deeper than my thoughts--somewhere soul deep and hardly recognizeable (to me at least)--is the dream that I will have perfectly-behaved children or least kids who avoid any "big" sins and are then deeply repentant when they do wrong. I have a dream that parenting will be fairly easy--even the parenting of our older adopted kiddos who have come to us so very broken as a result of torn-apart families that are no fault of their own.
I been oh-too prone to get angry if things haven't followed my plan for family life. My anger, for the most part, has been a quiet, seething sort of beast which is fed by thoughts like, "I deserve better!"the truth is: I don't deserve better. I deserve eternal suffering because I, too, am a sinner.
Both my irritation and my tendancy to be critical are fed by the thoughts like, "How could you be so
If I'm thinking biblically, I know there is no room for this haughty irritation (Eccl. 7:8b,9) when I, too, am a sinner. In order for it to be bilical, my response to the sin of my children must be compassionate humility.
My long-trusted sources of hope have failed me. I want another source for my hope. I'm tired of hoping in people and circumstances, only to ride a roller coaster of emotion as I'm lifted up on the wings of my hope or crushed by it.
I'm ready to hope in God. "My hope is in Thee" (Ps. 39:7b) I don't fully understand yet how to do this, but I've asked my King to teach me. (Jn. 14:26)
This passage from The Valley of Vision (pg. 335) probably holds at least part of the answer:
"O my Saviour,
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet
lean like John on thy breast
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung."
I want my hope to be in God. He, and, He alone, is worthy of my hope. He and, He alone, can provide joy in the face of any pain or in the midst of any circumstance. I want my "chiefest joy" to be Jesus!
If my hope is in God, I know that He will give me a lavish love for my children, no matter what they've done. He will make it possible for me to demonstrate a rich, luxurious forgiveness that covers the sin like a thick blanket (Proverbs 10:12, 17:9). He will thaw my small, tight-pinched, icy heart that's been so focused on me and cause it to grow. My heart will little-by-little become more like His heart. My kindness, modeled on His kindness, will stand a better chance of drawing my children in to my rescuing Saviour's arms. And that is what I want most of all!