Last month, my son met a police officer for the very first time. Being only ten days old, he meets new people and has adventures each and every day. His life is full of exciting firsts—as long as they are able to fit into 3-hour segments.
I endeavored to take this new life out of the confines of the house that I might, once again, experience the warmth of the long-lost sunshine and try out his new stroller. Despite the multitude of warnings that he was still too young and without a defined schedule, I was determined to make this trip happen. We arrived at our destination, parked the car and prepared to embark on our first shopping trip! It was exciting. I felt a surge of energy rush through me and confidence roll over my entire being. I thought: “Ha! I can do this! My life is not completely over. I am not one of those hopeless and helpless parents. I am completely capable of parenting. Better still, I am not doomed to solitary confinement in my home for the next four months!”
With my son safely in my arms, I exited the car and literally heard my bubble burst. All the positive thoughts left my psyche, and all the blood drained from my face when I heard the car door shut. And lock. I stood in the record-breaking October heat, in the middle of a shopping center parking lot, a tiny human in my arms, while my pocketbook, bottles, diapers, cell phone, wallet, and car keys remained locked behind the closed car door. While attempting to absorb the reality of my newfound predicament, my son let loose a hunger cry, as though right on cue. In that instant, I was demoted from “capable parent” to “poor unfortunate soul.”
Later, the non-emergency safety line was called, and police were dispatched; after the car was unlocked, the bottle retrieved and hungry child fed, I reflected on the chaos of the moment. I was utterly helpless without any of my own resources. I was at the mercy of others and the kindness of strangers.
As Christians, we claim to rely fully in God’s provision for our daily needs; we profess to seek first the Kingdom of God, trusting that God will make sure our needs are met. But do we really live this truth in our present culture? Do we believe profoundly enough in this truth that we are willing to bet our security or safety net on it? I doubt it. More than likely, we view ourselves as fully capable and self-sufficient regarding our physical needs, and perhaps our spiritual needs, too. We may claim “Jesus is Lord,” but so many other voices around us and even within us warn of the danger of being dependent on others and thus, we have our security compromised.
What is our security base? God or ourselves? Our money? Our diaper bags? Proverbs 11:28 reads, “Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.” How can we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and also rely on our own understanding or provision?
In this season of Gratitude and Thanksgiving, I challenge each of you to self-examination and prayer. Ask yourself, just how fully do you rely on God? Are you willing to walk away from all you have in order to live out the faith you claim? Whatever place you find yourself in in this holiday season, in plenty or in want, I hope you recognize your own poverty and the amazing gift of God’s grace given freely. I hope you recognize the riches of salvation through that same grace by faith, and continue to pursue a more perfect faith in love. May your hearts be filled with gratitude and thanks to the Lord of Lords this Thanksgiving.
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