Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hard Work of Life

I have a saying. I think it's original. "If it ain't hard, it probably ain't good." Think about those things in life that are good that come easy. They are few. Health is good, but eating healthy and exercising suck. Marriage is good, but more than half of all married Americans decide, some for good reasons, some for not so good reasons, that their marriage is too hard (I won't even touch on having a good marriage). Parenting is good, but I can't WAIT for my little princesses to go to bed every single night.

I was reminded of this the other day while I was reading Douglas Wilson's parenting book, Standing on the Promises. Here's what it said with regard to parenting that really struck me:

"In order to have a garden full of weeds, it is not necessary to do anything. One must just let it go. And in order to have a home full of grief, it is not necessary to do anything either. Just let it go."

I got to thinking about all that it takes to have a good garden. I am not a gardener precisely because gardening is something you have to work at, on some level, every single day. The little things that you do each day pay big dividends in the end...but they don’t feel like it at the time. If in the end you truly want vegetables, you have to do those seemingly unproductive things, even when the garden just looks like rows of dirt. Real gardeners know this. But, most amateur gardeners do one of two things. They either 1) sow the seed and hope for the best (and usually end up with something (known in theological terms as common grace), but certainly not what they could have had) or 2) lose interest because of all the work and let the garden go.

The garden of life is the same way. I'm realizing more and more that if I want, say for example, children with good habits, I've got to put forth the constant effort of training them in good habits, which ain't fun....Wait, that is step two even....Step one is, I have to put forth the constant effort of training myself in good habits so that I know how to train my children. These things won't just fall in my lap. I keep expecting them to fall in my lap. I have to work at them. I have to be diligent in them. Daily. There isn't time for rest or else my garden will be overcome with weeds. This is the curse of the fall. There are not just literal thorns that make cultivating a garden hard; there are thorns in my heart that make cultivating all that is good in life hard. There is a huge part of me that just doesn't want it bad enough to put forth the effort it takes.

In the end, I think this is the difference between a believer and a non-believer. In the garden of life there are two types of people. Those who decide it is too much work and let it go and then there are those who fight back the weeds. Every garden has weeds and not every vegetable in the garden will sprout, but if you want a garden at all, you better get out there and fight for it...daily...diligently...relentlessly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome To Our World

Welcome To Our World
Chris Rice

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world