What does it take to be prepared for hard times? Is it possible to know that when tests come, we will do more than survive? That we can actually thrive?
When being bombarded by new cultural norms, how do we keep from being swept away?
How do we filter all of the information and opinions and judgement, and help our kids to weather the storm…
when it’s being taught in schools,
when it is being portrayed as “normal” on TV and in music,
when social media has the progressive message on repeat,
when people around us are turning…
Right and wrong have not changed. It is the culture’s position toward right and wrong that is changing at a rapid pace.
In reading the rest of Rehoboam’s story in 2 Chronicles 12, the writer wrapped his whole life up in this sentence: “He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.” (vs. 14, ASV)
The root of it all was in a lack of resolution. That word, “SET” means to be firm and established, to make ready or prepare. It even means to be fastened. My husband was a Navy man. If you ask him what it means to, “Batten down the hatches,” he will tell you it means to seal all the openings and tie down everything. Then hold on. No place for water to enter, and nothing left to be swept away. If we set our hearts to seek the Lord, we won’t leave loose ends… we will fasten all our hope to Christ.
When I was in 9th grade I had to take Phy Ed, and the uniforms were skimpy. My mom got permission to make me shorts that were the same color, but longer. I tell my girls that to be modest is to draw attention to God instead of ourselves, but in this case, not wearing the short shorts that all the other girls were required to wear only drew attention to me. This one guy asked me why, and I had the opportunity to tell him. He was really thoughtful, and then he made this statement about the type of girl I must be. It was a compliment, and I missed the holy moment. I really don’t know what snapped in my brain right then, except that I had a fear of not meeting high expectations, and I heard myself answer him by saying, “Probably.”
That’s “probably” me is not the same thing as “yes, that’s definitely me.” I was embarrassed by the whole ordeal, and I knew in that moment that I was lacking some resolution or I never would have answered that way. God showed me that I needed to spend some time with Him, intentionally handing over heart strings. He is SO kind that way.
Being prepared begins with setting our hearts to seek the Lord. We won’t make choices that take us away from God if we are in hot pursuit of Him. Sometimes we have to look at specific scenarios and make the decision in our hearts, even if we are never faced with the temptation. If we are presented with real life circumstances, we should already know where we stand so that there isn’t a choice to make. In the hard moments, we can know where to step because the path is pre-hardwired into our hearts.
It is the same with our children. Talk with them. Share Scripture, explaining what it means, and applying it to everyday situations. Ask them to explain what it means in their words and how they can apply it to circumstances you know they encounter. These habits are effective in helping them 1) recognize the truth, 2) remember what they are learning, and 3) resolve in their hearts.
But you know that expression, “Squeaky wheel gets the oil…” The world is screaming loudly for attention. We have to be diligent to always live and learn God’s word out loud. Always praise His goodness. Always call attention to His provision and His kindness. Drown out the world with the Word.
My oldest son is getting close to 12. Lately, I’ve noticed that if he shares something he has seen or heard that he knows isn’t right, he will follow up by saying, “That made me feel sad.”
Dear Heart, don’t ever lose your wonder about who God is, and don’t stop feeling sorrow over the things that are wrong with the world. Stay tender, and tie those heart strings to the Lord.
Images by olga volkovitskaia, Engin Akyurt, Albrecht Fietz, and Kanenori from Pixabay.