I’m not sure if it is because we are doing a series in Mentor Moms on discipline, because God is so committed to humble me, or because sweet Eli J is officially in his two’s (or a combination of all three), but the Lord has been forcing me to stare at the Jordan lately. I have been studying Joshua with some senior girls at Furman and recently have been in Joshua 3 and 4, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River. What is curious to me about the whole thing is that before the Lord parts the flooding river (about a mile wide and significantly deep), He commands them to camp at the banks of the river for three whole days. Why would He do that? God wanted them to take a good long look at the impossibility of the task before them, at their utter helplessness to make God’s will happen. He wanted them to lift their eyes to the mountains from whence would come their help (Psalm 121).
After a scary sermonette by Dr. James Dobson on the defiant child (I hate that terminology, such a negative connotation) and the realization (should have known for awhile, but Eli’s happy disposition can persuade me otherwise) that we, in fact, have a strong-willed little man on our hands, I have been coming to see my own desperate need for the Lord’s strength, wisdom, perseverance and grace.
I hate tension and just want to fold after putting up a fairly long and intense fight. Eli, on the other hand, like someone else we know, is not at all afraid of confrontation. A bad combo, right? Or a good combo, depending on how you look at it.
From the eyes of flesh and fear, it seems like a scary and unwise pairing, but the Lord knows much better and has called it good. Good because it humbles me, good because it forces me to rely on Him and not on myself, good because He has so much in store for that strong-will in Jay bird.
Monica, St. Augustine’s mother, when worried about her son (who was in “much worse shape” than crazy J in that he was living as a wanton heretic), approached a godly priest to seek his advice. He told her that there was nothing he could say to promise how her son would turn out; however, as she was walking despondently out the door, he said, “A child of such tears shall surely not perish” (or something to that effect, from The Confessions). Thinking of that quote and praying for grace to shepherd Eli J into the glory self that God intended him to become, I wrote this poem.
A Child of Such Tears
Tears stream down from tired eyes, outward expressions of inner grief.
Limited wisdom for an endless task, within myself, I’ll never find relief.
If a grain of sand or snow is complex, than how much more an eternal soul;
Yet to parents as fellow fallen creatures You have entrusted a shepherding role.
Meeting physical needs is a challenge, yet to leading the soul it does not compare.
You keep bringing me to the edge of myself; at my inability you force me to stare.
Lord, you have created His inmost being, and that same sweet truth applies to me.
You, who brought this family together must lend wisdom abundant and free.
A child of such tears shall not perish, owing solely to your provision of grace.
Lord, help me to fight for his soul, until He stands before You face to face.