86,400 Seconds

by Audrey on May 15th, 2012

Mary and Elizabeth.

Mary, so young.  Elizabeth, so old.

Both expecting babies within months of each other. Both so happy even though they knew their baby boys would grow up to be lonely, abused, mistreated, misunderstood.

One grew up to be beheaded

One grew up to be crucified.

Because of Elizabeth’s age, she was probably dead by the time John the Baptist endured prison and ridicule and ultimately death at the hands of a mother/daughter duo.

Mary, on the other hand, lived to see her son do miracles that caused him to rise to fame, popularity, crowds, and even being hailed by the multitudes.

Yet she also witnessed His fame come crashing down as her Son would not only be abandoned by those same crowds, but also by His closest friends.  The ones He spent so much time with – those He mentored and loved.  She would see one of His disciples betray Him, one deny Him.  She would see Him beaten and insulted until finally she would see Him suffer and die an agonizing death.

Her little baby boy.  Her innocent little baby boy.

Yet both of these men, one the forerunner of the Savior and the other the Savior Himself, carried out and fulfilled God’s purpose for their lives in a time when the name of Jesus brought out hostility in people.

And I wonder.  What if we knew God had appointed our children, our innocent sweet babies to live this kind of life?  Oh, not that there will ever be another Savior – no - that  One was Jesus – the Only One and . . .

He has come
He has lived the perfect life that I could not
He has died my death
And . . . He got up from the grave
And . . . He lives

BUT . . . what if the purpose of my life and the purpose of my children’s lives is to live in such a way that brings out hostility in people?  Not because of anything we are doing that’s mean or obnoxious but simply because we actually believe and live out our faith?  For God’s glory?

It’s hard to think about this because I’ve grown up in America.  A nation whose God has always been the Lord.  A nation founded on biblical principles.   Not a perfect nation but a great, God-honoring nation.

But as so many in our nation are abandoning the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and so many are hating on believers, it makes me think about the future that awaits my children and grandchildren. So as mothers and grandmothers ~

Should we only think about cute clothes and watercolor images?
Should we only worry about how children interrupt our lives?
Should we only think about getting away to hang out with friends?
Would we only think about how hard it is to raise children?

Or should we teach them about God’s faithfulness, His lovingkindness, His steadfastness, His purpose?  Should we tell them the story of Jesus and write on their hearts every word - in great detail and the greatness of God?  Should we instill in them that God is their anchor and how He will always be with them?  Should we teach them that this world is passing away and it’s not their home – that God made them for eternity?

Should we cling onto God and remember that before our children walk as adults for His glory and His purposes – no matter what those are – that He has entrusted the babyhood and childhood years to us?

God has given 86,400 seconds in every day.  He deposits those seconds into our “time” accounts.

And every day that God gives life to us, we get to use those seconds for something.

What should I do with those seconds?    What do I do with those seconds?

Do I teach my children with purpose?
Do I show them God in the little things?
Do I welcome them into my home and grow them there?
Do I embrace motherhood and all of its responsibilities wholeheartedly?
Do I honor and respect my husband before my children?

Or do I only care about the messes they make, how tired I am, and complain about how hard it is to raise them?

Sure, it’s hard.

But it’s much harder when I don’t want to be there.

So yes, it’s hard.  Yes, I get tired.  Yes, they make messes.

So what.

The marine’s job is hard.
The pastor’s job is hard.
The president’s job is hard.
The construction worker’s job is hard.
The lawyer's job is hard.
The corporate executive's job is hard.
The farmer's job is hard.
All honest, real, meaningful work is hard.

The only job that’s not hard is the one you don’t have.

So . . . what if I knew some things?

Like –  maybe . . .

I won’t be around for my child’s tenth birthday,

Or, my child won’t be around for his tenth birthday

Or, my child will be ridiculed by her peers because she loves Christ – really loves Him and wants to obey Him in every way and her peers don’t get it

Or, some of my child's college friends despise him because he won’t drink or smoke pot or do drugs or cover for them when they do

Or, people hate and judge my child because she stands up for righteousness and she’s lonely

Or . . . my child loses his job or doesn't get hired simply because he believes marriage is a sacred institution and shouldn’t be re-defined.

Or . . . any number of things . . .

You know, unless people’s hearts turn back to the One True God of the Bible, we are headed for days of great persecution just because we are Christians.  Just because of our beliefs.  We are already seeing the beginning of it.

Our children could suffer greatly ~ more than we can imagine ~ if they love Christ and live for Him.  If they speak out in any way. It takes great courage to stand up for righteousness in the day we live.  Think of the hating on people because they believe in the Bible's definition of marriage - one man/one woman.

Down through the ages, God’s people have suffered innocently.  They’ve been slandered and tortured and beaten and persecuted because they desired to live godly in Christ Jesus.

God has told us that discipleship costs.

John the Baptist sat in a prison for his faith.  He was beheaded for his faith.

Jesus was slandered, abused, mocked, and crucified.

Our faith must be strong.  We are living in days that are more and more hostile to biblical faith.  We must teach our children well.

Moses was a great leader.  He led the children of Israel out of slavery toward the Promised Land yet he would not go into the Promised Land with them.  He turned his leadership over to Joshua.  He encouraged the people before he died, knowing they were heading into hostile territory.  He told them, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Words for today.

The writer to the Hebrews repeated these words, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

We must teach our children and grandchildren that God will never leave them or forsake them even though the world is leaving Him.

May we know the presence of God as we live for Him in difficult days.  But you know what?  The light shines the brightest when it's dark outside.  We have an amazing opportunity to shine.  In Philippians 2:12-18 Paul tells this to the believers in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the world of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.  You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Believers have every reason to rejoice.  We get to appear as lights in the world for the glory of God! And we are not doing it in vain!  God is at work in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

He gives us 86,400 seconds every day - until He takes us home or He returns.  Rejoice.

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