Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tears in His Bottle

My little girl has a sensitive heart. Tears come easily, which is amazing seeing that she was born of two fairly stoic parents.

Tonight as I approached her room for bedtime prayers, I heard her sobbing. "What's wrong?" I asked. "It's all this sin, " she answered, "hatred, disease, and people dying. I wish Jesus would just come back." Upon further probing I discovered she'd been singing the Christmas Shoes song she'd heard on the radio over the holidays and its meaning had just hit her. We talked about the fact that one day each of us will die and that for us, and for the mother of the boy in the song, that means spending eternity with our Savior. More tears came for those we know who do not follow Christ. I affirmed her tears and her mourning over the things that grieve God, emphasizing that we need to be just as upset over the sin in our own hearts that causes our ugly words and actions. "What if I'm not really a Christian?" she asked with more tears. "Who can change a sinner's heart?" I answered with a question. And together we asked for more faith for our friends and for ourselves.

The whole discussion got me thinking: I'm not sure that what we need here in this house (or in this country, for that matter) are stricter rules, guilt producing lectures on proper behavior complete with altar calls, or better planned strategies for family development. What we really need is a work of God. Apart from Him, all we have are our paltry efforts. We need faith and we can't drum it up. But we also need the tears of a 10-year-old girl that cry out for mercy while at the same time weep over the things that break God's heart.

And a little child shall lead them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

If I was a piece of furniture...

I'd be a bookcase--yes, I would--because I love books. I've been surrounded by them for the last 20 years, first as an English major, then as a publishing house employee, and now as a home school teacher. Over the past ten years, I've read a lot of how-to books: how to cook, how to clean, how to raise children, how to raise crops, and so on, but this year I've collected a stack of reads I'm trusting will aid me in pursing God and loving my neighbor.

In no particular order, here's my starting line-up for 2011:

Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just, Timothy Keller

God's Mighty Acts in Salvation, Starr Meade