On a bitter cold Chicago afternoon, I pulled into the remote parking lot at O’Hare airport. I hurried off for a quick trip to Atlanta. I landed Saturday evening dressed for a Christmas party. Big problem. There had been heavy snow, and I had forgotten where I parked my car. I trudged through the snow dragging my suitcase, yielding no success. A kind shuttle bus driver spotted my pathetic pursuit and asked, “How can I help you”? I unburdened my dilemma with tears in my eyes, and she kindly invited me to climb aboard. She encouraged me to stand by the widow, clicking my remote as she weaved up and down the rows. At last, we could see the faintest of headlights flicker under the snow. I wiped my tears and wished her a Merry Christmas.
Forgetful Covenant Breakers
Stubborn self-reliance followed by weariness, frustration, and resignation to quit is a recurring picture of my forgetfulness. Like Winnie the Pooh, the bear with very little brain says, “I do remember, but then when I try to remember, I forget!” Every day I fail to remember things more important than where I parked my car, like the bigger story of what God has done. When you forget the Big Story, you forget who God is, who you are, and why you exist.
Forgetfulness is not a personality problem; rather, it’s a sin problem. Sin breaks all things, including our capacity to remember and think biblically. God’s people are always in danger of losing their memory, forgetting who they are and whose they are. We are Covenant-breakers, but we serve a Covenant-keeping God. He never forgets His promises or His people; He never suffers from memory lapses. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.
When we fail to remember our great God, we can trust that He will never forget us.
Covenant Remembrance Engages Head and Heart
To remember something is to intentionally consider, be mindful, or call attention to something. To ponder or delight in something requires stopping, noticing the dimensions, and treasuring its value…
We moved to our new house three years ago. It is a two-story house, a first for our family. Soon after we moved, our oldest son threw his brother’s teddy bear over the stair railing, hitting my favorite lamp below. It shattered into a million pieces. I remember lecturing my son on the foolishness of his choices (and mourning my lamp).
Searching for Wisdom
This same son turns 13 at the end of the year, and the stakes related to wisdom and foolishness are much higher now. I honestly wish I could use one of those Magic 8 Balls to help my son make wise decisions—and to make them myself! Should my son have a smart phone? Shake, shake. Should he be allowed to be on social media? Shake, shake. Is it reasonable for him to sleep until noon on Saturdays? Shake, shake, shake. However, we all know that wisdom doesn’t come from the simple shaking of a toy ball.
As we face increasingly more questions, I am convinced that seeking wisdom and training our children in wisdom are two of the most important things that parents can do. I know I am not the first one to be convinced of this—the entire book of Proverbs is about a father imploring his son to seek wisdom! “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15). Wisdom is more important for our kids than excellent grades, athletic accomplishments, and good friends (man, I need to be reminded of this!) So how do we get wisdom as parents and then teach our children to do the same?
Source of Wisdom
1) We remember that godly wisdom is different from worldly wisdom.
Ruth Younts in “Get Wisdom” says “Wisdom helps you be more like Jesus in your actions, thoughts and attitudes, by loving God and loving your neighbor.” Godly wisdom has God as its purpose and center. My husband and I recently explained an unpopular decision we made to our son and discussed the difference between worldly wisdom and God’s wisdom. Godly wisdom is usually counter-cultural. It does not seek to please self or others. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death,” while 12:15 says “The way of a fool seems right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Often, what is right or wise goes against what is popular or right in the eyes of the world. True wisdom looks to please God above all else. We have had multiple conversations with our children about how our desire to please the Lord with our lives may cause us to make decisions that are very different from those of their friends. Although these differences can be difficult for our kids, we are preparing them for a life of kingdom discipleship, looking at what God would have for them…