Rejected and Dejected

One of the hardest parts of parenting is wanting good things for your children that they stubbornly resist. From that first turning of the head against a spoonful of mashed peas to the more serious things of setting ground rules regarding sex, cars, phone use, social media, and drugs, it is a struggle. Parents are often left with an empty feeling that no matter how hard they tried or how much they longed to protect their children, sometimes those efforts are ignored and rejected. Raising children can be filled with unexpected heart ache. Their minds and hearts can turn to stone in their resolve to do things their own way, and it is gut wrenching to watch them have to pay the consequences for their choices and behaviors. Parenting is surely not for sissies!

     Jesus must have felt that way about the stubbornness and rejection he received from his beloved Jerusalem. How often he wanted to snatch them up and shelter them in the safety of his wings, like a mother hen does with her chicks. Their refusal to receive him was heartbreaking for him. 

Matthew 23:37-38

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you. How often I wanted to gather your people together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 38 Look, your house is left to you deserted.

     Scripture only mentions Jesus crying two times. Once was at the death of Lazarus, as he experienced the extreme grief of sisters Mary and Martha and felt their sorrow over his friend’s death. The other was in this moment as he looked over his beloved city Jerusalem and saw the impending destruction that would result from their rejection of him (see Luke 19:41).

     Have you ever loved someone so hard that their rejection caused you physical pain? I have a friend whose daughter was a homeless heroin addict for five years. Every day was a battle of trying to keep her mind from worrying about her daughter and giving control over to God. In the end, her daughter recovered, but the mother still wears the scars of love from that terrible time.

     Jesus’ grief is a good reminder to us that he deeply loved even those whom he rebuked. The Scriptures prior to these two verses outline his case against the Pharisees and his accusations about their sinful behavior. But even still, he loved them enough to weep over them and want to shelter and protect them.

     Jesus feels the same way about you and me. He wants to gather us up and take care of us. He wants to keep us from the harm of our own decisions and actions. He wants to fend off adversaries and help us to thrive and grow. He wants to mother us.     

Are you stubbornly refusing his love? This grieves him, yet he loves you still. It is never too late to come under his wings. There you will find security and hope.

The Shelter of His Wings by Michelle Robertson

Smart Socks

Socks have now become smarter than parents. And grandparents. There is a smart sock on the market that wraps around a baby’s foot and tracks the heart rate, oxygen level, and sleep/wakefulness. Smart socks use a technology called pulse oximetry. The sock comes with a base station that glows green to let you know everything is okay. If the baby’s heart rate or oxygen levels go below preset zones, the light changes and an alert is sounded. And OF COURSE there is a phone app for remote monitoring.

This new generation of babies is probably the most observed generation. With monitors, over-the-crib cameras, and smart socks, parents can watch their babies on their phones all day long.

Back in the old days we used to just stand at the nursery door and listen.

Observation is an interesting thing. Where once observation of infants took place from two floors down solely by listening and running up the stairs to peek through the door, now observation comes by smart phone.

Jesus was a master of observation. He didn’t even need an app.

Matthew 23  (The Message)

1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.

His observations on the Pharisees were on point, and he sounded the alarm. God’s people were being ruled by the minutiae of the law by men who weren’t living out the spirit of it.

4-7 “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’

In the kingdom of God, there is no hierarchy. Jesus is our only Teacher, and God is our only authority. We have one Life-Leader who will show us the way.

8-10 “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

His observations on the hypocrisy of the leaders of his day led him to call them out, and challenge the people to return to God and seek a direct relationship with him. Where is God calling you to return to his heart? As he is monitoring your pulse rate, is your heart beating in concert with his?

11-12 “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Little Toes by Jamie Mathis