Hi everyone! I’m in Romania now and trying hard to be fully present with the precious children and youth we’ve come to serve. So–I’m hosting a guest blogger today. Welcome, Jessica Brodie as she shares her devotional thoughts with us today.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.
Sometimes I feel like I have two identities from my kids’ perspective. I’m Nice Mom, who feeds them, tucks them in, and chats about all their troubles, and I’m Strict Mom, who makes what seem to be arbitrary, ridiculous, unjust rules they’re forced to follow.
Nice Mom is easy to love. When I’m Strict Mom, however, I get backlash: long sighs, eye-rolls, attitude-infused questions about why, and even the occasional, “It’s not fair.”
Reading Exodus this morning, I have to be honest: My eyes started to glaze over as I read the precise descriptions about exactly what size the altar should be, the color and embroidery directions for the priestly garments, even the type of fruit (pomegranates) on the hem of the robe. For instance, this snippet: “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. All the curtains are to be the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set” (Exodus 26:1-4 NIV).
I shook my head and forced myself to focus, but as I read, the inner rebellious child inside of me began to rail: Why does God care that the table be made of acacia wood overlaid with gold? Why does God need the lampstand to have four cups shaped like almond flowers? Curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle, really? And does it truly matter if the priest’s breastpiece has a second row of turquoise, lapis lazuli, and emerald, or if they use green yarn instead of blue, purple, and scarlet? The minutia was overwhelming, and my mind started to dismiss it.
Then it hit me: I was being just like my own kids—questioning God and God’s motives rather than accepting that God has a plan. After all, I don’t need to understand God’s plan in order to follow it, and I need to get over myself and just listen to what my Creator is saying.
It was a good humility and obedience check.
Exodus isn’t my favorite book in the Bible, and neither is Numbers, now that I mention it. I’m partial to John, Isaiah, and Ephesians. But God wanted them all in the Bible for a reason. They’re part of His Holy Word, and I don’t get a say in that. I don’t get a say in what is a sin, or what a person needs to do to have eternal life, or any of the other things we humans sometimes grapple with.
As the prophet Isaiah writes, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV).
Like my kids eventually accept my authority, God is the ultimate parent who has ultimate authority. I just need to align my heart, mind, and soul with God’s plan and God’s way—not my own.