Our son is pulling to stand now. That’s huge for him and for us. Not so long ago, we wondered how long it would take for him to roll over and sit, not to mention crawl and stand. Finally, finallyhe is enjoying his surroundings and is trusting that there really are greater pleasures in life than, say, nursing or howling through the night. It has been utterly delightful to watch his expressions as he uses both arms and legs to reach and pull and push himself towards his goal–usually one of his sisters’ prized possessions. I really can’t explain how heart-warming it is, though I’ve been through this three other times. I think this time it’s meaningful because it is a hard-fought goal. The others I took for granted. That’s just what babies do and we have exceptional babies. But, circumstances aren’t always equal. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes, there are other forces at work and God’s plans take a more circuitous route.
Watching my sweet boy has got me thinking about meat and milk–you know, the spiritual kind. The Bible instructs us that we should desire the pure milk of the Word, so that we can grow (1 Peter 2:2). But, milk is for babies. They don’t have teeth and they need that constant touch of their mother to help them develop and bond and grow. That growth results in a greater appetite that can’t be satiated by mere milk. Newborn babies turn into bigger babies who need fruits and veggies and protein, and ultimately wean themselves off of mother’s milk entirely. Spiritual growth should mimic that somewhat. Though we never really outgrow the need for the pure milk of the Word, God does want us to grow in our understanding of His character qualities and essence. He wants us to feast on spiritual meat–the tenets of our faith, the great questions of life in Christ, life and death stuff. He wants us to know and trust Him so much that we can delve deeply into a tougher palate.
But there are times when God squarely plants someone in your path that is a lot like our Samuel. Just needing to hang out in the milk phase for awhile longer. Maybe, like Sam, every initial life experience has taught them that life hurts– that others are out to get them or to take advantage, that they can’t trust Someone they can’t see or touch. So, they need to go at a slower pace. And maybe God wants us to slow down with them.
It’s a shame, really. Our culture is clipping along faster and faster at warp speed. There is so much pressure to fit it “all” in just perfectly. I’m convinced there’s an awful lot of fear-based living going on right now! As believers, we need to be mindful that sometimes God is going to ask us to slow down and live life at a snail’s pace because it ministers to and blesses another believer. And if we let it, the slower pace will bless us as well. I’m not advocating that we come to a stand still in our walks–just to be mindful of others who may need some hand holding while they gain their bearings in Christ. In other words, let God use us how He–not we–sees fit.
As a family, we’ve had lots of opportunities to be stretched in this area. Besides the wonderful opportunities we’ve had with Samuel, there have been other families and individuals God has planted in our lives that have required sacrifice, patience, financial resources, free child care ad nauseum, late night phone calls and prayer, did I mention patience? Through it all, though we may not have begun with a Christ-like attitude, our hearts are quickly adjusted when we begin to realize that Christ does the same for us. Humbles Himself. Walks with us, crawls with us, holds our hands and helps us to see His love more clearly. And not just once, but over and over until we “get it.” He’s like that, you know. Infinitely patient and loving and the perfect example of a life poured out for others. It’s what he wants us to model to the best of our own abilities and beyond, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being the ultimate example of sacrifice. Help me to remember that this beautiful life you’ve gifted to me is just that–a gift I can choose to hold onto selfishly or to give back to You to be poured out for others. Give me an extra measure of faith to trust You with all that You have given to me. Help me to walk slowly with others. Make my words a soothing balm for their hurts. Make my hands a comfort for their weariness. Make me more like You. In Your name, Amen.