Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 2:12b – 13 NIV
The Saturday before Mother’s Day I found myself sitting alone with a book listening to the rain. A true gift! However, my mind was riddled with anxiety and my heart was pounding as quickly as the torrential downpour outside. A few disheartening situations at our oldest son’s school came to our attention this week. I also coincidentally heard from two other friends about some pretty sobering situations they were working through as their sweet kids navigate this quickly changing world. If asked, I would have said that God is greater than our circumstances and that the best thing we can do is be in prayer! And I do believe this! However, as I was sitting there alone, my mind wasn’t nearly so encouraging. Instead, I felt grieved, fearful, and overwhelmed.
All of these circumstances I heard about led me into a furious flurry of research, listening to podcasts, looking into the historical evidence of the exodus (yeah, I dug in deep), and reaching out to friends. I didn’t want to create dramatic text threads, but by definition, the situations were, well, dramatic. I needed answers, a game plan, a carefully composed letter to the principal, and to be able to relax as after all, it was Mother’s Day weekend. I spent some time last summer in Colossians, and verse 8 in chapter 2 came back to me:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental forces of this world rather than on Christ. NIV
I kind of took this and ran with it. “I will not be held captive! I will study! I will save my kids!” Oh, wait. Yes, in the midst of my panic I may have accidentally taken on my children’s salvation. And not just their salvation, but I think I was also attempting to take on, well, the world. Needless to say, that’s a lot of pressure.
I would love to say that then I prayed about it and was reminded of God’s greatness, and all was well. But that’s not exactly what happened. Instead, I spent most of the weekend swinging back and forth between being pampered for Mother’s Day and sitting in a pit of despair (a pit filled with really great books and other resources mind you, but a pit none the less). It was rather incongruous.
It wasn’t until this morning that I finally made the space to just sit with the Lord. To come to the fountain as we have been talking about on Sundays (John 7: 37-39 & John 4:10). I once again referred to the pages of Colossians all wrinkled and underlined in my Bible from last summer. Thankfully, there is more instruction than just making sure we aren’t held captive by empty arguments as you’ll see below.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Col. 3: 23-24 NIV
It is the Lord I am serving. Not human masters (ie. not my children, the local principal, or even my own boss). Though I may have thought that changing my focus from working for humans to working for the Lord would have tremendously increased the pressure, of course that’s not what happens when I surrender to Him. In remembering that I am working for the Lord, I am also reminded that I have a very gracious and very powerful employer. He is generous and kind. He gives more than two 10-minute breaks. In fact, He gives me salvation and offers it to my children which is far more than I can do with my research.
This may seem like just a belated Mother’s Day message, but I hope there’s something here for all of us. In a world where it seems everything is rapidly changing, I pray we can find rest in the beauty of the Lord’s complementary system; the day and night, the land and the sea, the law and the prophets, knowledge and grace…striving and surrender.