Is Your Family an Idol?
Wrote this devotional for a mom at our church. Hubby said to post it, so here it is :)
I feel like a lot of motherhood is worry. My son is in the stage where lots of things go in the mouth and lots of exploring happens. Which means anything is a hazard. I told David I feel like my danger radar is just like in the movies when someone has like super technological glasses and when they look around the room they can identify things that the naked eye can’t. Like I feel like I have beams that shoot out to all the hazards so that I can anticipate them and prevent bad things from happening to my wild child. And I'm maybe more prone to worry than other people, having been raised by worriers.
But the thing is, I don’t want to worry all the time. And God says not to worry. Recently, I sent David on an errand with the baby so I could get some work done. And because my brain works the way it does, I thought, what if they don’t return? And my stomach started churning as it does often, and I tried to think what my next steps would be. But then the Holy Spirit stepped in, calmed me, and said “God can be trusted.” Which means, yes, things can go wrong, but no matter what God can be trusted. He holds their lives in his hands. If it’s their time, according to His good purposes, then He can be trusted. If it’s not their time, and he protects them from harm, He can be trusted.
How good it is to have a God like ours who is trustworthy and good ALL THE TIME, no matter what. One thing I pray about a lot is….where does my contentment come from? I pray that my children and my husband would not become idols in my life, taking the place of God.
I want to talk about the story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22:
Abraham was a man called by God. God told him he would make him the father of many nations. Flash forward to when he’s 100 years old, his wife finally gives birth for the first time, and they have Isaac. So Abe had been waiting a very long time to have the son that God promised he would have. That’s a very long time. And even though people lived longer then, it was still past their childbearing years to give birth at 90 years old, as Sarah was. So it was truly a miracle that they finally have Isaac. You can imagine how much they loved him and loved his little giggles and loved watching him grow. And they probably watched the sharp edges of their hut or whatever they lived in so Isaac wouldn’t hurt himself. ;)
One day, God says this to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Pastor Tim Keller writes, “This was the ultimate test. Isaac was now EVERYTHING to Abraham, as God’s call makes clear. He does not refer to the boy as “Isaac,” but as “your son, your only son, whom you love.” Abraham’s affection had become adoration. Previously, Abraham’s meaning in life had been dependent on God’s word. Now it was becoming dependent on Isaac’s love and well-being. The center of Abraham’s life was shifting. God was not saying you cannot love your son, but that you must not turn a loved one into a counterfeit god. If anyone puts a child in the place of the true God, it creates an idolatrous love that will smother the child and strangle the relationship.”
Now, there’s more to this story in understanding why God would call a parent to sacrifice their child. But ultimately what God is doing is refining Abraham. Our God is gracious to us when he destroys our idols. An idol is anything that takes the place of God. And our idols will destroy us. We have a God-sized hole in our hearts that only He can fill. So when we find ourselves searching for something to satisfy, we fill up that hole with success, or we rest in the number in our bank account, or on the scale, or we say “at least I have my family.” There was a commercial for something, I don’t remember, but it basically aired during the Christmas season and said the best thing in life is family, and if we have nothing else, we have family. And my heart just ached every time I saw it. Because the reason for the season isn’t family. It’s Jesus. Your family isn’t the end all be all, and they can’t be. But Jesus is and can be and always was. And His love is better than life itself.
Our children are an amazing blessing and gift. And because they are children, and need constant attention and supervision (at least my son does), they demand a lot from our brains and energy. And it is right to love them, care for them, help them, be their mother. But if they’re the reason you live, and the source of your joy and contentment, you will never be satisfied. Because we weren’t meant to be satisfied by anything other than God himself. I struggle with this all the time. One of my biggest fears is that something will happen to David or Zeke. But God can be trusted. And my contentment must. Come. from. Him. Because anything in this life can be taken away in an instant.
The truth of all of this that we all are more sinful than we know, but loved more than we can imagine. And because Jesus went to the cross for us, we can be saved from false gods and the deception the shiny things this world has to offer. I pray that God alone would be our deepest longing and greatest treasure, and that we would be able to put our children in their rightful place as wonderful, beautiful, precious gifts that God has given us for us to have for a time. I pray this for you, and for your beautiful family, that you would know Jesus as your one true love, and be able to breathe a little easier because God can be trusted. And he is good ALL THE TIME. NO MATTER WHAT.