Being a faithful parent is a consuming vocation. Parenting absorbs each part of your day. Even when your children are gone for school or church or to a friend’s house, your mind’s eye pursues them and seeks after them. At night, your ears have an open channel that never turns off, as you listen for signs of sickness or upset, even as you sleep. It is easy to be drawn into a swirling vortex of events. Having a clear, sharp and intimate view of Christ is not only desirable, it is essential.
In Psalm 73, the psalmist had become overwhelmed with the seeming futility of following God. Survival mode can become the norm. It is tempting to think, “Right now I would settle for just thirty minutes of quiet, so I can just have time to think.” But here is the reality that the crush of daily life can obscure—Jesus is right there with you in the middle of the clutter of your life!
Trusting Christ in the mess of life is what gives stability to your soul. He has brought together all of the events, frustrations and demands of your life at any particular moment to point you to him. Jesus is not like some distant bystander. He is there with you. He is not passively watching, waiting for you to do the next wrong thing. No, he is actively interceding for you even when you are not doing well, even when you forget him.The Holy Spirit anticipated your need when the psalmist wrote:
My flesh and my heart may fail,
You see! Christ does know your struggles as a parent. How kind the Holy Spirit is to include these words of truth in this psalm. How many times have you said or thought these words? Scripture is about reality. These words are not words of condemnation or scorn. The Holy Spirit is not chiding you. Rather he is using the real life experiences of the psalmist to encourage you—to give you hope that God is there to be known and loved right now, in the middle of your life. The psalm continues:
… but God is the strength of my heart
This is reality, even more so than the sense of exhaustion you have when your role as a parent seems more than you can bear. Jesus is with you to give you strength to do what you cannot accomplish on your own. For example, if you hear your voice beginning to rise in exasperation and frustration, Christ is there to give you strength to speak with pleasant words instead of harsh words born of frustration and anger.
As the 25th of December rushes upon you, remember the words of reality from this psalm. Don’t be overwhelmed by all that you can’t do or would like to do or give or clean. Be overcome by the reality that Christ is caring for you—even when he is the last person you are thinking about. Really, truly, this is the kind of God that he is.