The tigers were my favorite, and the elephants, and possibly the cats and dogs performing tricks. It’s just too hard to choose.
We took my daughters and some friends to the circus for my middle girl’s sixth birthday. Before the show, we ordered six Happy Meals from McDonald’s. The cashier in the red shirt kept asking me, “Is this for a boy or a girl.”
For a girl. All girls. Six—yes, six—girls.
When we finally filled up every cup, unwrapped all the straws, and handed around the food, the manager popped around the corner to see us. “Six girls! Shew. I just had to see all six of them.”
We assured him that only three belonged to us.
The birthday girl sat next to her friends on one end of the row. My husband and I sat on the other end. We all pointed, shouted to one another where to look and what to see, “oohed” and “aahed,” and cheered.
After each act, though, my brand new six-year-old shot all the way across six seats to climb into her Daddy’s lap.
She was scared. I should have expected the fear, given the Dragon theme for the show. Every time the music grew the least bit dramatic, she was sure the dragon was coming and it was a real dragon and it was out to get her.
Then when clowns pounced out from the curtains instead of a dragon, she zoomed back to her seat to enjoy the show with her friends, only to run back to Daddy when the clowns splatted to the ground for the last time and the music rumbled again.
Sometimes you just need to be safe with Dad. We need nothing less from God, open arms and the chance to climb up into His lap when life gets dramatic and what’s waiting behind the curtain seems ominous and overwhelming.
Late that night after I had dropped off the last of her friends and we drove home alone in the car, my daughter sighed with contentment. It had been a great day.
“Did you enjoy your birthday trip to the circus?” I asked.
“Yes,” she raved, “It was fun. But I didn’t like being scared about the dragon because my friends kept saying, ‘The dragon is coming next!’ even when it wasn’t. And they said “The dragon is real,” and it wasn’t.”
“Didn’t Mommy and Daddy tell you the dragon wasn’t real and that it would be beautiful and that you didn’t need to be afraid?”
“And who do you think is most likely to tell the truth about things like that? Mom and Dad or other kids?”
Pause for silent thought.
These were just friends, sweet, good friends who weren’t out to scare her or trick her, but were just guessing and giggling and playing games. Even so, she chose to listen to the wrong experts and believe their well-meaning false reports.
I’m reading the book of Matthew with my small group and there are a few phrases that are jumping off of the page at me day after day.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet . .. ” (Matthew 1:22).
“For this is what the prophet has written” (Matthew 2:5).
“And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet” (Matthew 2:15).
“Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled” (Matthew 2:17).
“So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets” (Matthew 2:23).
“This is He who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah” (Matthew 3:3).
This was “to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah” (Matthew 4:4).
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah” (Matthew 8:17 and 12:17).
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah (Matthew 13:14).
Surely you sense the pattern. I love Matthew’s emphasis here that God stayed true to His Word. Even though it seemed unlikely and impossible, even when it took a long time, He fulfilled every detail of His promises through Jesus.
As Christians, we may question whether something in the Bible is a promise or not a promise. Can we hold on to it in times of doubt? Can it be trusted? Is God trustworthy?
Certainly some promises were specific guarantees that God made to certain people, like assuring Abraham a son at the age of 100.
Yet, in her book The Shelter of God’s Promises, Sheila Walsh writes:
“The two Hebrew words we translate into English as “promise” are the words dabar, meaning “to say,” and omer, meaning “to speak.” In other words, when God says something, when God speaks, that is as good as it gets. He means what He says, and He says what He means. It would appear as if we, humankind, had to invent the word promise because what we say or speak cannot always be trusted, so we upped the ante with a new word. But when God speaks, He cannot lie” (p. 12).
The word “promise,” then, exists for our benefit, not God’s. Every word He utters is truth, reliable truth, unwavering truth.
We combat other voices every day:
Well-meaning friends and family, even our fellow Christians, who make guesses and share opinions about what’s next for us.
Circumstances that scream reasonable-sounding assertions of hopelessness, abandonment, and utter despair.
The world shouting out its unfiltered opinion all day, every day.
Our internal dialogue with Satan’s interjections of shame, condemnation, and doubt.
But today, we can choose to ignore this cacophony of fear, climb up into Abba Father’s lap, and rest in His assurance that we are His. We are loved, safe, protected, and more, and that’s the truth.
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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.