Have you ever watched a pot of potatoes just as it begins to boil? The boil starts slow and then suddenly it's bubbling over everywhere! That's kind of what happens with the ideas for this blog. I won't even be thinking about what to write and then suddenly it hits me and I can't wait until it's here, written down, and posted. Tonight, I had to wait. The topic was swirling around in my brain, but as it always does parenting took precedence. It's ok though, because the Lord used that time to clarify what He laid on my heart. What my children needed, (like all children) was my time. They also needed a lesson on shooting stars.
I've been reading about parenting this week and one of the main themes that is sticking out in my mind is the importance of spending time with the kids, creating memories, and searching for "teachable" moments within that time. I'll defer to this scripture in support of my hopes for the time I spend with them.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
It's not just the Sunday morning teaching that is important though. We have to look for moments, and also create time when we can point out to our children just how great God is.
With that being said, I want to talk about our experience the last two nights. Jaden and Abby have both been talking about wanting to see a shooting star. Shooting stars, or if you prefer the technical term, meteors are spectacular to see. As a child, I was fascinated with astronomy and loved watching the starts at night and looking through my telescope. I was excited knowing that the Perseid Meteor Shower was approaching. I couldn't wait to surprise my children with a trip outside after dark with piles of pillows and blankets so that we could find a comfy spot on the trampoline to watch the night sky. So, last night, and tonight, that is exactly what we did and with all that quiet time outside, we had a chance to talk.
The reason my kids were so excited about finally seeing a shooting star? Yep, they wanted to make a wish. Wishing is something we are all "taught" by society. From our first birthday candles, to the genie in Aladdin's cave, to the coin dropped in a fountain our children are bombarded by ways to "make a wish." On TV, often times these wishes come true, which leads kids to believe that if they make a wish, then whatever they have wished for will come true as well. Unfortunately, things don't really work that way.
For example, today I overheard the sweetest little girl talking about how she wished her mommy could come home with her. I have heard similar statements from my own children with regards to their biological dad. We as adults realize the complexity of these situations, and although we know that nothing is impossible with God, we know that some wishes just aren't going to come true, or at least not like we expect them to.
So what is a wish? Here it is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary for Student (aka the simple version)
Main Entry: wish
1 : to have a desire : long for : WANT <wish you were here> <wish for a puppy>
2 : to form or express a desire concerning <wished them a happy New Year>
3 : to request by expressing a desire <I wish you to go now
The word that sticks out to me here is DESIRE. To wish is to desire something, to crave it, to yearn, to hunger, to long for it. That sounds a bit more familiar doesn't it? More attainable perhaps? The bible has a lot to say about desire and more importantly desiring God.
"Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" Matthew 6:33
That's what I wanted to point out to my children. The problem isn't the wish itself. To make a wish is in it's own way an act of faith. Teaching our children to have faith, well that's a good thing. The problem is what we are wishing on! A penny in a fountain isn't good enough, and a shooting star no matter how beautiful isn't going to do it either. Our faith and our desires must be placed in the hands of the One who created the stars. Anything less than this leads to disappointment.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6
So, when Jaden asked me. "Mommy, can a shooting star make your wish come true?" I had a chance, to not only enjoy the beauty of the meteors falling around us. I had a chance to teach my children about God. To teach them that we can't place our trust in the physical things. That when we desire something, or have need of something the ONLY real option we have is prayer.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7-11
We've spent two nights talking about how, although the shooting stars are beautiful and created by God, they can't grant wishes. I'm sure by now both of my children will tell you that instead of wishing on something, it's better to talk to Jesus about it. Sometimes it takes a physical illustration to demonstrate faith and to understand the Lord. What I want you to take away from this is. Our desires (I don't mean temptations)aren't all bad. it's good to have goals, hopes, dreams for the future.
But.....Are you wishing on a job that just isn't going to fulfill your needs? Are you expecting something from your spouse that he or she just can't fulfill? Are you tossing pennies in a well with no bottom by sinking dollar after dollar into a slot machine or lottery tickets, just hoping for that big break? If these are the things your are wishing on....STOP!
God is the only One that can fill the voids in our lives. He is the star we should be wishing on. Our chief desire should always be to seek and find more of God. That's a wish that can and will always come true if we make it. All you have to do is ask, seek, and knock. It will be given to you! (No shooting stars required.)