Sometimes we believe, sometimes we hope, that Proverbs 22:6 is a guarantee. Like, if we sow enough good seed, we will see the result we were hoping for… but sometimes we don’t get what we expect.
A heartbroken friend confided in me about her wayward son. And this may happen to any one of us: when he is bigger than you, the seed you carried for nine months—the seed, still planted in your heart—he may produce thorns, that pierce you a bit.
And I had to tell her about one of my most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.
Momma was going to start chemo the next day. The morning had been especially frustrating. I traveled two hours to reach her house, arriving appallingly late…arriving after little people lost pencils, homeschool supplies stayed home, teeth remained unbrushed and medicine was forgotten. Picking up our lunch, I had a near meltdown at the Wendy’s drive-up window following a customer-service-nightmare. When Momma needed me to bring her to get blood drawn, the battery in my car died. I was over 100 miles from home. None of my family could help me.
I was at my wit’s end. I felt forgotten by the Lord. I was confused about why the day had gone so badly. Someone reminded me I had AAA (I was so flustered I had completely forgotten that I had free towing and roadside assistance).
Against all my plans, and when I needed it most, God sent an epiphany in a Dickie’s uniform. The battery specialist was professional, efficient and courteous. In fact, he was downright cheerful. He was an older African American man who had attended Seminary and was a deacon in his church. We talked about faith and families. His kids were all grown, so he had a lot of experience and wisdom. He was just so kind.
As he diligently brought my car back to life, he said something that I will never forget:
“You’ve heard about this Proverb: Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it; well, most people get it wrong. This promise is not really so much a quid pro quo. It is not a guarantee that your child will never go his own way. What happens is that the teaching never leaves the child. The Word and the Spirit keep after them, no matter where they go.”
God’s Word, when sown, does not return void, but it accomplishes what it was intended to do (Is 55:11). In the same way, during terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad times, appearances may not be very “pretty,” but sometimes that is what it looks like when God’s will prevails. There will be times when we try hard to do everything “right,” yet it seems that everything goes “wrong.”
We never know how our love, teaching or sacrifices will be received. We cannot do the “right” things in relationships in order to get particular results. We must do the “right” things to honor Him, and leave the rest up to Him. The people belong to Him, the plans are His. Thankfully, He can be trusted with both.
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