Maybe it is because I am the oldest of seven children; or maybe it is my pride; but I like to do things myself. I don’t like to admit when I’m struggling.
But once, when we were living in the Netherlands, concern for one of my sons was so heavy that I asked our pastor, Jim Jarman, if we could meet. He invited his wife, Lynn, to join us. After school on the day of our appointment, I rode my bicycle from Wassenaar to Leidshendam. I shared my concerns with Pastor Jim and Lynn, expecting that they would give parenting advice. Instead Lynn said, “You don’t trust God with your son.”
Self-defensiveness rose in me. But as I cycled home, Lynn’s comment echoed in my mind. I remember the moment when the fietspad turned and, coasting downhill into a tunnel under the train tracks, I realized what she said was true; I didn’t trust God with my son.
So often when I am struggling, I want to blame someone else, but God is teaching me that the solutions to my problems start with examining my own heart; assessing my own relationship with God. Lynn’s truth-in-love words helped me begin to learn that lesson.
On this day of the year, we remember how Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and, servant-like, washed his friends’ dusty feet. When he finished, he said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
It would have been easier and safer for Pastor Jim and Lynn to give parenting advice. But instead they washed my dusty heart, inspiring me to trust God and to be more patient as God worked with my son.
Application: Dear friend, if you are struggling, asking for advice from a wise counselor is worth any risks. Weary friend, when a trusted friend gifts you with tough advice, spend time in solitary reflecting on it. Speaking the truth in love can be like surgery; it hurts, so it can heal. Weary friend, are you struggling to trust God with those you love, as I am? God, give us faith to believe you are both caring and capable. “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
How are you struggling to trust God? Who or what might help you learn to trust him more?
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait by Ruth Bell Graham