The desperate longing for something that doesn’t change

“I would like to stay to a kid forever.”

That’s my son talking.  He’s happy to be four.  Who wouldn’t  be?

Most of my kids have wanted to rush right on through childhood and into adult life.  They try to plan out their whole lives while they’re still in middle school.

I’ve had to reassure my 11-year–old repeatedly this year that she doesn’t have to  choose a career in sixth grade.

But my son gets it.  He gets all the beauty of being four years old.

Specifically, this week,  he’s been thinking about his “little, soft blue blanket” and how he’d rather not give it up.

It doesn’t cover his whole body any more.   He snuggles into his blanket as best he can, but his feet inevitably stick out, so he needs  a supplemental blanket to provide full coverage.

But this blue blanket is loved.  I  dare to suggest he might be too big for it soon, and his answer is quick and clear:  “I would like to stay to a kid forever.”

He’s my resident Peter Pan, not wanting to grow up, and the comfort of the blue blanket makes never-ending childhood oh so worth it to him for now.

I appreciate his happiness with the “now,” the willingness  to  just enjoy all that life offers in the present tense.  He’s not worrying about the future or even trying to escape to the past.  He’s four and he’s pleased to be four.  That’s a beautiful thing.

But I also see in his little heart this desire for permanency, to cling maybe a little too strongly to  what is good but what won’t last.

The truth is he’s going to keep growing out of this blanket.  That day will surely come.

I understand his struggle, though, because I’ve been longing myself for something permanent, some reassurance that I won’t wake up to a new day and find life all shaky and unsure or find my feet sticking out of my favorite blanket.

I have this longing for peace,  peace in all  the places.  Peace in work and ministry and home and friendship.  No relational conflict.  No disappointment in people.  No workplace surprises.  No undercurrent of trouble unexpectedly rising to the surface.

But “in this world you will have trouble,” that’s what Jesus told us, and just when peace settles into one place, it seems it shatters in another.

That’s bad news for a girl like me who longs for the comfort of a perfect plan and knowing all the details in advance.

But here’s the good news.

All that shakiness in the world around me and all those times I’m tumbled headlong into another season of change or uncertainty makes me desperately long for solid ground, for a permanent, unshakeable place to stand.

This longing drives me right to Jesus.

Scripture tells us that we can have that safe place.  We can have an unmoving,  never-changing, solid, trustworthy foundation that we can count on no matter what earthquake rattles the ground beneath us.

Even if we get the phone call, the email, or the bad news, we can always return to this safe place, this refuge.

We can be confident in God’s character.

Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13:8 CSB) and James reminds us that our heavenly Father “does not change like shifting shadows” (1:17 CSB).  The Psalmist prayed, “But you are the same, and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:27 CSB) and reminded us that God’s “faithful love will endure forever” (Psalm 138:8).

God has been strong in the past and He will be strong.  He has been able and He will be able.  He has been mighty  and He remains mighty.

No circumstance and no conflict changes His goodness or His compassion, His sovereignty or His power.  His love endures.  Right in the middle of whatever has tossed us into uncertainty or fear or fretting, God’s love remains steadfast and sure, and we can hide ourselves away in the shadow of that unfailing love.

 

We can be confident in God’s Word.

Jesus promised that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35 CSB) and the Psalmist declared, “Lord, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven” (Psalm 119:89 CSB). 

Peter said,

All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory like a flower of the grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever  (1 Peter 1:24-25 CSB). 

Forever. 

Forever is what I need on the days my feet stick out of the blanket and I realize change is in the air.  Forever is what I need when I long for peace, but it seems elusive.

I can hide myself away in God and His Word without fear.

Enough

“And all of you is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need.  You satisfy me with your love and all I have in you is more than enough.”
Jeremy Camp, Enough

Last summer at a pool party, confident after a few swimming lessons,  my daughter didn’t wait for her dad to put on her “floaties.”   Instead, she just hopped in the pool while my husband was helping her sister get ready.   She thought she could handle it—this preschool swimming class expert.  Unfortunately, she started to sink.  So, she freaked out and struggled.  That made it worse.

It took less than a second for my husband to reach in the pool and grab her up.  To her, that split second seemed to last forever.

On this very same day last week, I felt like I was sinking.  I freaked out.  I struggled.  That made it worse.  This brief moment in my life seemed to last forever, but God reached down and grabbed me up.

God blessed me that day with a  good friend who shared with me this verse: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach . . .  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deut. 30:11, 14, NIV).   As I struggled to stay above water that day, different portions of that verse would encourage or challenge me and ultimately required me to make some changes.

Not Too Difficult

What God is asking us to do sometimes seems so hard and we want to quit or give up.  Yet, He encourages us to keep going because this is not too difficult or beyond our reach, not with Him helping us.  In our strength, we’ll absolutely sink.  We struggle and flail and cry out for help because we’re overwhelmed with our inability to control our situation.  Yet, as Paul writes “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV).  Isaiah writes: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).  As long as we remain with Him, held up by His “righteous right hand,” we will not sink, no matter how unable we are to swim in our own strength and abilities.

Today

The Deuteronomy verse tells us, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult.”  My friend reminded me that I only need to focus on obeying God’s command for me today.  If I worry about ten years from now, that’ll be too difficult.  Even trying to get ahead of myself by one day can send me to the bottom of a pool!  I look at my month-long calendar and sometimes I lose my breath.  How will I get it all done?  Will I sleep this month?  If I can just make it until next month, I’ll be okay.  And then I flip the page of the calendar and feel overwhelmed again.

But, today and just for today, God is asking me to do things that are not too difficult.

What I Am Commanding You

After my friend shared this verse with me, I meditated on it all day.  I used it as a pep talk for myself: “You can do it.  It’s not too difficult.  You can get it all done and handle all this.”  Then, I realized that I really couldn’t do it.  This was actually far too difficult for me.  I was sinking, no question about it.

So then, what was I doing wrong?  I was trying to do what God was commanding me and then some.  God had told me I needed to quit my job and I had put Him off until it was more convenient for me to obey.  I can’t add to God’s commands and expect Him to hold me up out of the water.  In that case, it’s my own fault I’m sinking!  Walking in obedience brings me freedom and the promise that God will help me do everything He has asked of me.

There are some days when I am feeling great and doing fine, life is good, and then just for a brief moment I have that sinking feeling.  All three of my daughters suddenly need me and it must be right now!  The phone rings while my kids are crying and I’m trying to make dinner.  I’m tired from lack of sleep caring for a newborn or a sick child and I still have to function the next day.  One of my daughters is sick or struggling and I don’t know how to make it better.

I’m sinking.

At other times, it’s a season of feeling out of control and overwhelmed—When I’m pouring out everything in ministry and just want to give up at the lack of results.  When I’m working my hardest and don’t seem to make progress.  When the prayer requests of others seem so overwhelming.  When I am given a new project and I have no idea how to accomplish it.

I’m sinking.

The fact is, I’m simply not enough for all this.  I sometimes tell my daughters, “I only have two hands!!”  There are times I am telling God the same thing.  “God, I’ve got two hands and that’s it.  I’m not equipped enough, strong enough, trained enough, or experienced enough.”

I’m not, but He is.  With His help, and as long as I am focusing on today and walking in obedience with Him, He will strengthen me.   He will be “more than enough.”

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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.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King