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Reminded by a Child

Reminded by a Child

Friday, February 8, 2013

8:20 AM

1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing."


The buzzword of 21st century culture seems to be busy, or busyness.  Everyone is constantly on the go. It almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, "Here, There, and Everywhere."  We are a society that is constantly in motion.  But in a lot of ways we seem to be on a treadmill, constantly moving, constantly doing something, but really going nowhere. 

Going nowhere and forgetting what's important along the way.  My house is very busy right now, with the birth of our third son.  Feedings, diapers, changing, cleaning, making sure the oldest two are played with,  taking the oldest to school, getting homework, taking the youngest to his appointments, and that doesn't even take into account doing things at church (i.e. visitation, studying, sermon preparation, writing,….)  It’s a very busy time.

That however is no excuse for what happened the other night.  It was our first night home and my wife was taking care of the baby, so I decided to get the oldest two to bed.  After all of the usual excuses by the oldest one (hungry, thirsty, him going temporarily deaf, just 5 more minutes dad please,….) I finally got him into the bed and then tried very unsuccessfully to wrangle his brother.  No problem I thought I'll get him to sleep then get the 4 year old, no problem.  The first part was easy as the 7 year old went right to sleep.  Now to get  the middle son, shouldn't be any problem. 

Wrong again.  I tried to get him to lay down, no luck.  I chased him through the house, no luck.  I commanded him to go to bed.  No luck.   Finally he climbed up on my lap, and I thought well I'll rock him to sleep then take him and lay him down.

We rocked, and we rocked, and we rocked.  Then we rocked some more, he laughed, he talked, he fussed.  Then I told him in my best stern daddy voice, "you have got to go to sleep."  And we rocked some more, his eyes were getting heavy victory, was in sight, and then for no reason at all he roused up, so I tried the stern daddy voice again.  He got quite for a few minutes and I celebrated, then I heard, "dear Jesus, thank you for ……." And I had the realization that in the midst of the busyness I had forgotten to pray, and he was reminding me.

All at once I was encouraged and convicted.  Encouraged because at 4 he is leading us in prayer, but convicted because I had forgotten to do it.  So we prayed, and we said amen, and with tears in my eyes I tried stern daddy voice again, "Thank you buddy, its time to go to sleep."  And we rocked a few more minutes and he got away and left me sitting in the chair.  My wife had him asleep in just a few minutes, moments later. 

I was speechless.  God reminded me that night of what's important.  Sleep, certainly is, but so is prayer and making sure that my children know about Jesus.  I had forgotten that night to pray, I had let the busyness of life  get in the way.  I had let my frustration get in the way (we had rocked for an hour unsuccessfully).  I had let my goal (getting him to sleep) get in the way.

That happens doesn't it? We get busy, so we forget…….We get frustrated so we forget……..We want our way, so we forget.  Those words said by my 4 year old, "dear Jesus" reminded me however.  They jolted me back to reality.  They reminded me not to forget what's important.  That's why Paul says, "pray without ceasing."  God doesn't need us to pray, but when we pray it reminds us of what is truly important and that is our relationship with God, and sharing that relationship with other people, especially those who are a part of our family.  A relationship that is only possible through the cross of Christ.

Jesus said, "seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  In other words take care of what's important first, your relationship with God and the righteousness that He gives to you.  Take care of that and everything else will take care of itself .  Does that mean everything will always be a bed of roses? Absolutely not.  Does that mean that if I would have prayed first, my son would have drifted off into a blissful sleep.  Probably not.  But it does mean I would have been teaching him what is of the utmost importance, and that is his relationship with God.  Taking time to praise Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him.  That is what it is all about. 

I'm thankful for my children for so many reasons.   God knows how forgetful I am, and I am thankful that they remind me.  They remind me of the love and power and majesty of God.  They remind me of what's important and for that I'm thankful.