One Saturday morning, as I sat before the Lord and spent time in His Word I was reminded through Psalm 127 how very important it is to remember that our God has our back in every area of our lives. Our responsibility is simply to lean into Him and trust Him. The greatest and most important thing we can ever do in our lives is to surrender them to the LORD.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
We can stress all day and all night over our homes and our ability to protect them and our selves, but the greatest construction company and the most tech savvy alarm system can fail at any time or come against someone who knows a way around them. We can have the most energy efficient, maintenance free home designed and one tornado or one iron left on can find it gone in minutes. We can have the deadliest weapons, strongest gates, and most highly skilled guards stationed around our home, yet still when we are dependent upon them for our protection we will find that restless nights remain. We can get up early and work hours into the night to pay for all these things we have put our hope in, but then we find that although we have them, we have never enjoyed them.
Psalm 127 goes on to say, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD…” At first read it can seem like, whoa where did that come from, but when we take a step back and look at Psalm 127 as a whole we can see exactly why verse three brings our attention to children. If we are consumed with building our kingdoms, stressing over someone taking our kingdoms, and working 24-7 to maintain our kingdoms then we miss the most important thing about having a kingdom. We miss the people we love that are living in it.
A kingdom that won’t stand without you, won’t stand at all. A kingdom that crumbles behind you, never was really a kingdom at all.
In Psalm 127 God redirects our hearts to look at our children as the kingdom we need to be building and watching and laboring over. They are our reward. If we will choose to invest our lives into our children then we build a kingdom with a legacy that lives on long after we are gone. In our world today we are bombarded with the desire for so much that really is of no lasting value. We waste time and resources on things that are fleeting and of little and no importance weeks and years down the road.
Below is a Direct TV commercial. When it comes on, most of us laugh… but I encourage you to stop and let it hit you.
How many of us are truly raising our children in this way. Parenting on 140 characters or less because that’s all the time we have and that’s the attention span that we have allowed to be built into them. I am beyond thankful for the times that the Lord has stepped in and wrecked my plans to wake me up so that I could see that my plans would eventually be leading me to forsake those that are of the utmost importance… my children. I have no doubt that I have many times been guilty of heading in this direction even though what I was pursuing was “good things” even ministry.
Our children require more than snippets of teaching. They need to be able to come along side of us and see life… and by the grace and mercy and for the love of God let us choose to live lives that teach well. Our children need wisdom. Our children need to see how the Word of God and the Spirit of God can and will navigate them through the twists, turns, and trials of life. Our children need to know that they matter.
I listen to my children share stories now. My children are 26, 17, and 14. I listen to them share memories of when they were little clear up until now and as I hear their thoughts and see the life the Lord allowed us to give them through their eyes… I am humbled beyond measure. I am humbled for the times that we struggled so that I could stay home. I am humbled for the times that they were drug to hospitals and funerals and pulled into the nursery and set up and cleaned up for and after ministry events. I am humbled by the grace of God and His change of my plans because our children are our reward. Wisdom is indeed vindicated by her children (Luke 7:35).
That last verse in Psalm 127 is the one that just ties the bow on the whole message. I will not be ashamed when I speak with my enemies in the gate. I was never guaranteed my children would choose to walk faithfully with the Lord. I was, however, guaranteed that I would stand before the Lord one day and give an account as to how I lead the children He gave me.
My children may act a fool at some point and time in their life, but no one will ever be able to put their finger in our face and make us feel ashamed. Some have tried, but it didn’t work, and it never will, because they didn’t know what we knew. They didn’t know that we knew our children. They didn’t know that no conversation was taboo in our home and all was laid open and bare before our God and that grace and mercy and love was always extended with our discipline.
My husband and I, much to our children’s dismay, were never (and never will be) DirecTV NFL ticket parents. We were well aware that we had one shot to get this right. We had one shot to prepare them for life. We want them to be ready. Our job is to make sure they are ready.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior (verse 4), arrows that have been fully examined and prepared before they were ever placed in the bow. Arrows that once they are released are no longer under our control, but still remain under the authority of the sovereign, omniscient, holy God who holds them in His faithful hand.
It was never about our kingdom, but His.