Last week, our oldest, Jules was feeling vulnerable. She shared her heart one afternoon with Jimmy and me about how she felt like she wasn’t measuring up to her peers academically at school. When she shared this with us, we could feel her heart’s discontent as she was struggling with comparison. Jimmy and I push, encourage and challenge our kids as best as we can but we acknowledge it’s not the most important thing. As a parent, it hurts when our kids feel like they aren’t enough. No matter how much truth we instill in our kids and how much we love them, the world will tell them otherwise. Their sense of value and worth will always be tested. I think this is a battle we will continue to face as long as we are parents.
Gently, we reassured Jules of her identity. Our love for her is not dependent on her achievements or mistakes and her identity isn’t based on merit or anything else. She seemed to understand but I could tell she wasn’t completely satisfied. The next day, Jimmy came home from work and walked in with 2 dozen gigantic pale pink roses. He said, “Jules, this is for you and mom!” Her face lit up and she sheepishly said, “thank you, daddy.” He gently reassured her again how much she was loved by him but even more by her heavenly father. At that moment, I wanted to marry that man right over again! Funny side story: Yun Mi and I always crack up when our hubbies do something awesome because all of a sudden we’ll bust out singing that song from Salt-n-Peppa, “what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man, a mighty mighty good man!” So you know that song was playing in my mind that very moment. 😀
I tell you this story because at that moment, I had a God moment. In that very moment as Jules was being reaffirmed of her identity, God gently reiterated that truth over my life. How much does our heavenly Father affirm, remind and demonstrate his love for us as his children?
Last week during my devotional from John Piper, I was studying Zechariah. In it, the prophet hears great news from the angel about Jerusalem.
While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glorywithin.’ Zechariah 2:3-5
Basically, Jerusalem will increase in people and wealth so that it will not be able to be contained within walls. In these verses, even though walls are needed for protection, God himself says he will be that protection and security. He himself will be a wall of fire around it. What’s more? He promises us the security and delight of his presence. If God has promised this for Jerusalem, we can hold true to this promise for our lives as well.
We live in a spiritual world. We are fighting in it every day whether we realize it or not. The voices of the world and enemy creep up and constantly tell us that we are not enough. Our feelings of worth and value shift with every season, applause, recognition, grade, disapproval, facebook like, disappointment and failure. The word of God tells us otherwise.
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. Proverbs 29:25
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
As I’m typing this out, I’m totally preaching to my own heart because I need to hear this truth for myself. We’ve recently been going through some of the parables at church and small group. What a beautiful picture it paints in Luke 15. Most of the times, we look at passages in the perspective of our own lenses. We see ourselves as the lost sheep, the prodigal son or his brother. But in both stories, the heart of the father is the main focus. He goes out looking for that 1 sheep that’s lost because his heart is for all of his children. He cares for every single sheep that goes astray. He won’t rest until that sheep is found. In the story of the prodigal son, the heart of the father is completely profound. After his son tells him to basically drop dead and takes his inheritance, the father continues to wait and watch for his son’s return. When he sees his repentant son return, he runs and embraces and welcomes him back home with the grandest celebration. The father’s heart is so quick to forgive and bring restoration back into their relationship.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2
As our hearts prepare for Easter, may He turn our hearts towards repentance. May the gospel be preached in our hearts every day and may we fix our eyes on Jesus, the one who makes all things new. If you have a chance, listen to this song, “How deep the father’s love for us.” The lyrics are powerful and perfect to meditate on during passion week.
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
You are his precious, beloved, cherished son/daughter. As it states in Galatians 6:14, may we not boast in anything but the cross!
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. Matthew 28:6