Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Don't be an "amateur providence." Part I
6:10 p.m. Today's project was to step back and NOT help our youngst son, struggling as many young people are today, applying everywhere, getting repeated interviews, but no job. He texted me that he had a job interview today, so his dad and I had been praying. Last night, he asked if I could put some gas money in his credit union account so he could drive across town for the 12:00 p.m. appointment. I said yes, because I know he's beyond being on a tight budget--he's on a no-budget! Steven's been surviving by the grace of God, staying active in ministry, working as a trainer whenever he can, and receiving sporadic payments from his bodybuilding sponsor.
This morning at 4:00 a.m., I woke up and soon realized that I was not going to drift back to sleep. Steve and his C-pap were humming away, so I went into Heidi's old room with my cell phone (which I use for an alarm) and began thinking about and praying for Steven. Then the Lord spoke to me about my promise of funds for Steven and told me to check my bank balances.
To my dismay and conviction, being between fixed income payments, I did not have the funds in any of my accounts to help my son! I got on my knees tearfully praying for forgiveness for "rescuing" my son from the worst of his difficulties time and again, when he has clearly decided that the Lord wants him in Fresno, and therefore should live with the struggles that is calling for! (More than once I've strongly suggested that he move home, especially when he can't make his rent).
Can't be sure where I first read the term "amateur providence," but as a mom, I've played that role more than once over the last 3 decades. Problem is, we can no longer afford it! By God's grace, four of our adult kids are working and self-supporting, as was Steven before the economy hit bottom and he lost his private training clients. I am so grateful that I have my business and now the sales of my book to supplement my pensions and Steve's Social Security disability payments. The Lord has kept us going on so many levels, as Psalm 121:3b-4 says,
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Yet I wasn't trusting the same Lord I've committed my life to, to take care of my son!
I went back to bed, but Steve's spasms, though mild, would jerk me back awake, and I ended up in the other bedroom. At 7:00, I went back to my room to wake Steve up to put the dogs out and take his meds, and then we snoozed until 7:30, when my cell phone alarm went off again.
It was time to text Steven-I wanted him to have plenty of time to find transportation. I simply told him I didn't have the funds to help him, and could he take a bus? He answered that he didn't have bus money, so I just left it at that. Steve and I prayed on the spot.
Downstairs, I read Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, the selection for today, "The Sacrament of the Saint." The headline verse is I Peter 4:19:
Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit their souls to Him in well-doing.
(i.e., Commit their souls to God, not their mother!) Here are some quotes from the devotion:
No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God's will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. No saint dare interfere with the discipline of suffering in another saint.
The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates...If we accept the sympathy of a saint, the reflex feeling is--Well, God is dealing hardly with me. That is why Jesus said self-pity was of the devil (See Matt. 16:23).
Looks like this saint has been hindering her son's maturity in Christ from time to time!
Later, Steven texted me, "I'll make it. I'll be fine." I thanked him for alleviating my worry and told him to read the amazing Oswald Chambers devotion for today.
Later still, Steven texted , "Just got a full time job at an organic food store as a produce clerk."
Think I'll commemorate August 10, 2011 as the day I retired from being a hindrance to my son's spiritual growth!