January 13 2005
Encouragement for Today
God Sense vs. Common Sense
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker.
"The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes" (Psalm 19:8 NIV)
Sitting in my backyard, I love to listen to the sounds of God's critters: birds, crickets, frogs, katydids, woodpeckers, and most of all - children. Framing our yard from every side, children's giggles, chatter, and raucous play are a symphony of stringed instruments and percussions alike. There's the rhythmic thumping of a basketball bouncing on concrete, the squealing of little girls being chased by boys, the skidding of bicycles tires on asphalt, the popping of a cap gun, declarations of "you're it" and contentions of "you cheated." All blended together in a symphony of youth. Of course, the orchestra would not be complete without the reprimanding of parents breaking up fights and reminding stubborn wills of house rules.
Rules, rules, rules! What a bother - especially when you are five-years-old. When I was five, I never understood why parents had to interfere and ruin all the fun with rules. I eventually decided it was just part of their job description. "Parents: law enforcement officer who patrols the neighborhood, ruining all the fun for little girls and boys."
As a five-year-old Tom Boy, my favorite possession was a pink sparkly bicycle with a silver glittery banana seat and u-shaped handle bars. Streamers that were attached to the ends of the handles blew in the breeze as I peddled around the neighborhood at breakneck speed. I could leave skid marks as long as any old boy, balance without holding on the handlebars, and do "wheelies" with my front tire saluting the air. Oh how I loved to ride around the race track (otherwise known as Pine Haven Drive) feeling the wind whip through my ash blond streaked hair and brush past my bare chest. The "bare chest" part was the problem.
"Sharon Ann Edwards," my mother would call from the front porch. "Get in the house this minute and put on a shirt!"
"I don't want to wear a shirt," I whined. "Stewart doesn't have to wear a shirt. Why do I?"
"Because you're a girl and because I said so. That's why."
My brother was five years my senior and he often romped around without a shirt. As far as I could tell, there wasn't any difference between him and me. So why did people snicker when I rode past them bare-chested? I just didn't get it. So begrudgingly, I'd knock down my kickstand, stomp through the house, and pull on a t-shirt, mumbling all the way.
This was not a one time incident and my mother tired of making me dress like a girl, or should I day, dress - period. But then, something amazing happened. I entered first grade. Suddenly it clicked and I noticed that boys and girls were indeed different. It all started with Isaac Thorp and his big blue eyes. Well, mom never had to tell me to keep my shirt on again.
Rules - what a bother. Rules - what a comfort. Eventually, I learned that even if I didn't completely understand one of my parents' mandates, it would usually make sense later on. Just like my earthly parents, I learned that if I didn't understand one of my Heavenly Father's rules, it would usually make sense later. God's principles are not randomly contrived to ruin our fun. They are meticulously thought out and created to protect His children. God is a lot smarter than we are. Have you noticed that? If I question Him and He answers, "Because I said, so," well that's good enough for me, and hopefully I'll figure the reason out later - but I may not. If I don't, I just need to remember that Father knows best.
My payer for today:
Dear Lord, Thank you that You do not set up rules for us to follow to ruin our fun or to cause us frustration, but for our protection. Help us to stay within the confines of the safe boundaries you have laid out for us in the Bible. Help us to obey even when we do not understand your holy logic. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Write down a "rule" that your parents enforced that you did not understand at the time.
As an adult, write down the wisdom of that rule and how it protected you.
If you have children, note any rules that you have set up that they do not understand. Do you see a similar parallel between your wisdom as a parent and God's wisdom as your parent?
God set up many dietary rules for the Israelites wandering the desert. For them, the rules probably made very little sense. However, today, we see the nutritional guidelines are simply good healthy ways to eat. Can you think of other guidelines in the Bible that may not have made sense to the people of the time, but have now been shown to be a healthy way to live? For example: What is the possible result of several sexual partners - both morally and physically?
"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:7 NIV).
"The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous" (Psalm 19:9 NIV).
"They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb" (Psalm 19:10 NIV).
"By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:11 NIV).
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Thursday, 13 January 2005.