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THE END THE BOOK THE SERIES: J.L. Robb

Ready Reasons - Wendy Wippel

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Soul Trains
Witnessing Tools
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Wendy Wippel

A certain wit, when asked by an old acquaintance how his children were doing, answered like this: "We’ve had a bit of bad luck with our children. They’ve grown up.  Which would be really funny if I wasn’t currently living through it". 

I have two children, both daughters. Both of them, praise God, have asked Jesus to be their Savior. Both of them are intellectually gifted. Both of them like pizza.

That about wraps up their similarities.

My firstborn, Sarah has been looking for a party since the moment she emerged from the womb. Well, really, even before that. Her head emerged and immediately started turning from side to side, Sarah apparently trying to process this change in scenery.  (The nurses were amazed). After 24 years of being her mother I am now sure she was looking for a moon bounce or something, and thinking, "let’s get this party started!" 

A year or so later, if I set her down in a restaurant to get a high chair, she would be a mile down the road when I turned around. I had to get store security to help me find her on a regular basis.  She would ask total strangers if she could go home with them. Always looking for her next good time. That was Sarah.

It took the birth of my second daughter, Abby, to me make realize that my parenting experience up till then was not really normal. Abby was a quiet, contemplative baby, content to play with her toys and eat her bagel while I read, and who, in the car, was prone to long periods of contemplative silence followed by things like, "Mom? Do pigs poop curly?”

I typically describe the difference in my daughters like this: If God’s will was the top of our kitchen table, Abby would sit square in the middle, afraid to move because she might fall off. Sarah would dance along the very edge till she did.

And last weekend, she did.   

The good thing is that it would appear at this point that money can fix it.

And as some dear friends of ours once observed, after they had adopted two sons (both crack babies) and before the new mom succumbed to inoperable cancer (diagnosed not long after the boys’ adoption), “If money can fix it, it’s not really a problem".

Knowing them has always helped me put my problems in perspective.

But there will still be consequences. Which didn’t surprise her. She has been exposed to enough Scripture to be familiar with Hebrews 12:6; "Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

Sarah finished college last year, and moved to Orlando for a job. When she first took up residence there she had just started a new devotional bible study and talked about what she was learning from it on a fairly regular basis. She got an apartment with several other girls—some she didn’t know going in, and pretty soon I was hearing more about the beaches and music festivals than I heard about her bible study.

When she called to tell us she needed help she had her Bible in her arms.

And the point at which she had last bookmarked her devotional study had brought her to the point of being undone. She had read, that morning, the next lesson in her book. The lesson she was on when she had abandoned the study more than a year ago. 

And she was sure, in the moment, that it had been written specifically for her. That morning.

The next lesson was entitled “Death to Sin”  And this is what it said:

“Jesus changes everything.  With him no longer can pride be our haven or selfishness our habit. …self must be second.”

"Jesus is not a club you join. He is not a band you follow. He is not a sport you play or the job you do.”

"It’s not Jesus and whatever, it’s Jesus and obedience. He is King. He is Master.

"He is Lord. The Only appropriate response to His commandments is obedience.”

And then he says this: “The first step to conquering our sins and struggles is to Name our King”

And we can only have one.

That’s the problem, isn’t it. Because every fiber of the natural man thinks that the King  (or Queen) should be me! Which is a bad idea, since, although I’ve never seen this verse on a “Welcome Baby" card, Genesis 6:5 describes the unredeemed human heart like this: “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, continually.” And all of us, continually, struggle with that old man inside.

So it shouldn’t surprise us when he rears his head. Especially in kids barely out of their teens.

In fact, the Bible kind of warns us ahead of time. According to Proverbs 22:6: “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. That’s a promise.

Here’s the downside: Some versions translate this verse as "Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old, he will not depart from it”, implying that if you train your children in the way they should go they will never depart from it.  I looked up the  Greek. There is no word translated “even” in there. That’s wishful thinking.

The verse says specifically that when they are old they won’t depart.

The promise is that if you’ve raised them right, they will come around.

Not that they won’t give you more than a few grey hairs in the meantime.

Right?

It is costing us money, but the joy here is that God did discipline her. She had taken a few steps down a road that could end in ruin, and God stepped in. The circumstances had the hand of God all over them, making it clear to us that God had chastened her, as He promised His children He would do.

Which gave us comfort, as it also confirms that she does, in fact, belong to Him.  It was plain that He was involved. And Sarah responded.

So, ultimately worth the cost.  

I guess the parental prayer is that we live to see it.

Prayers for Sarah appreciated as she walks through this. And for us as we help her navigate the next few weeks. Thanks!

About Wendy Wippel

Last article: A Multiplicity of Errors



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