Hats off to all of you mothers who take your children’s injuries in stride. How do you remain so calm?
And hats off to all of you moms of those active boys and adorable little tomboys who begin their life adventures fearlessly toddling off couches like they are going over the side of a cliff without a care in the world for how they will land. How you do not gasp and shriek in terror is beyond me. Kudos to you!
Here’s why I admire you so…..
My oldest child is a boy. An “active” boy. (Did you catch the euphemism?)
In his earliest years, Jack was quite injury prone. I felt like I was constantly watching and hovering just hoping to preventing the next accident in order to avoid being labeled as “frequent fliers” at our local ER.
When Jack was two and people would ask who his doctor was, he would give them the name of the ER doc who had stitched up his little chinny chin chin after an episode where he had fought the kitchen chair and the chair won. (Sounds like a remix of a song from the 60′s, doesn’t it?)
Anyway, the first time I decided to take Jack to one of those inflatable fun house places (which are straight out of the annals of my worst nightmares), I was running around that place trying to be my little buddy’s human shield. I just knew he was going to get hurt. Call it intuition, but mothers know these things. I was already envisioning how we would decorate his plaster cast. That’s why I took it upon myself to make sure this mom would not be leaving with an injured boy.
Unfortunately, within about three or four visits to the Bounce House of Horrors, I had personally managed to break my own tailbone and a toe that still gives me fits of pain today if I’m not careful with it.
Both of my injuries were incurred while trying to “help” Jack avoid the injuries I just knew he would sustain. Me oh my!
I definitely learned my lesson the hard way. There is a difference between being cautiously responsible and acting like a downright control freak. After a few years and a couple broken bones, I have gained a little wisdom that has helped me to see the error of my hovering ways.
In the bigger picture, I also have learned that fear-based living is even more dangerous than fear-based parenting at your local Inflatable Terror Trap.
The slithering voice of fear will whisper perceived threats in your head, and then it feeds you the lie that if you just get enough control on the situation, you can avoid pain and displeasure. We buy into such lies when deep down we believe that God’s promises to us are not enough.
We learn in the Old Testament that God had repeatedly promised He would give the Israelites the land of Canaan. However, He would only do so when the timing was right. About 1,300 years before Christ was born, God was just about to give the Promised Land to His chosen people.
The story plays out in Numbers 13 and 14 when God instructed Moses to send 12 spies into the land — one from each of the 12 tribes. Moses commissioned the men to explore Canaan and to come back with a report describing the land, the people, and the vegetation.
The men returned home with good news and bad news. They explained that the land was lush. It was flowing with milk and honey. They even brought back a single cluster of grapes that were so plump that two men had to carry it hanging on a pole between them. But the grapes were not the only large things in Canaan. The people were enormous! And scary!
The spies knew God had promised them this land, but ten of the twelve spies just could not believe that God would be able to keep His promise. They reasoned that even if He did keep His promise, that they would have to be the ones to make everything happen which would surely cost them the lives of their wives and children whom they were certain would be taken as slaves or killed.
The ten unbelieving spies began to spread the word that the people needed to take matters into their own hands. They needed to take control of the situation for the sake of the safety of their families. Sounds noble, but it wasn’t.
The other two spies — Joshua and Caleb — reminded the people that God would give them the land. Joshua and Caleb did not seek to control what was meant to be out of their hands. They sought to be faithful to obey in the way God had instructed them. The Lord had promised to give them the land, and they trusted Him.
But fear led the people to desperate measures, and in a control freak moment, the whole community began plotting to stone Joshua and Caleb to silence them. God’s anger was kindled against their disobedience, and He wanted to wipe out all who were not willing to believe that He would fulfill His promise as He saw fit. Moses and Aaron pleaded with the Lord to spare the people for His own name sake among the surrounding nations. So, instead of sending a plague of death upon the Hebrews, God came to a different conclusion . . .
The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:20-24, NIV)
In God’s mercy, He forgave the sin of the people, but His genuine forgiveness was by no means void of consequences for the men who had repeatedly acted in disobedience out of hearts filled with distrust. And the story continues with a twist of irony . . .
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness.’” (Numbers 14:26-32)
What irony! The very children that the unbelieving men had used as an excuse to control the situation were spared, yet those who refused to trust God were not. The children would walk into the Promised Land forty years later, but they would enter without their fathers.
I can’t help but connect the subtle similarity in the irony of this helicopter mamma breaking two bones attempting to prevent my son from injury. I am thankful that as we live in the Age of Grace, most of our life lessons involve broken bones and less costly consequences than that of the community of Isrealites who believed the bad report over God’s promises. Yet, God still seriously and deeply desires our trust.
Our Lord has not promised that we will never get hurt. He also hasn’t promised that we will not experience the searing pain of loss. Being a human being means being relational, at least to some degree. And being relational means being vulnerable to loss. Yet, God allows us to be vulnerable in life because it is the only way we will be positioned to truly offer Him our trust. It’s the only way we will be positioned to act in faith. Vulnerability forces dependence, and it requires us to choose to worship Him or to worship something or someone else.
Worship isn’t so much about singing. It isn’t so much about offering verbal praise and affirmation. What it really boils down to is choosing where our adoration, our loyalty, and our reverence ultimately lie. If we say we trust God, do we show it? Do we obey? Are we content to rest in His promises, even when He does not promise that we will always be happy, healthy, and insulated from this scary world?
Here’s what He does promise to those of us who through grace are inextricably bound with Him in the New Covenant through faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ our Lord . . .
I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU. (Deuteronomy 31:6 & Hebrews 13:5)
Friends, let us focus our eyes on the promises the Lord has made. Let’s focus our hearts on trusting that He will follow through on what He has promised. We do not have to control the aspects of life that are His alone to bring to completion. Our job is simply to obey in areas where He has given us responsibility to act. We need to pray for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to know the difference.
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20, NLT)
Also, it is interesting to note that according to Rabbinical teaching, the ten spies brought back their bad report on the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar. In the thousands of years to follow, some very significant events in Jewish history have fallen on the of 9th of Av (which is a date that normally falls in July or August on the Gregorian Calendar). Here are just some events commonly believed by historians to have occurred on this date:
420′s B.C. – the destruction of the first Temple (coupled with the deaths of thousands of Jews)
70 A.D. – the destruction of the second Temple (coupled with the deaths of millions of Jews)
133 – massacre of Jews at Battle of Betar
1290 – expulsion of Jews from England
1492 – final date for all Jews to complete their expulsion from Spain
1914 – first world war begins with Germany declaring war on Russia eventually resulting in unresolved issues leading to WW2 and the Holocaust of the Jewish people
1942 – Hitler’s proclamation to kill the Jews leading to the deaths of millions
Do you see a pattern?