October 31, 2013

On Potty-Training and Poor Gods

I'm talking potty training these days, not because my kids are being potty trained--they are being potty-aim trained--but because many of the young moms in our church are starting the process with their children. I recall the potty-training days with no amount of fondness, and, as I told one mom the other day, some of my worst moments as a mom came from the frustration and gnashing of teeth that potty-training elicited. Sanctification, as it so happens, comes even through potty-training.

As we discussed the ins and outs or should I say the #1s and #2s of it all, one mom expressed that she literally had no more tricks in her bag to help her child fully get it. We talked about how we both try to manage our children and how we get frustrated when they don't do what we want them to do and how putting our identities as moms ahead of our identity as daughters of God can really make for some heart dysfunction. She said something that I thought was very wise and that made me think. She said, "I know I could go to the internet and search for tricks and tips and for reasons why my child's not getting it. But I haven't because I know it would just make me try to crazy-manage things more, and I know I have to trust God to help me know what to do."
Yes, that's it exactly. The internet, with its vast and often contrasting opinions, can make a mom go crazy. So can books and blogs and pins and well-meaning friends and advice columnists and magazines and the list could go on, couldn't it? There are many poor bibles, even the most loving, beautiful, well-intentioned of them all. 

I was reminded of this young mom's wisdom in Bible study today as we discussed little Judah thinking herself wise by making a political pact with big, powerful, bully Assyria. King Ahaz must have thought of himself as such a good leader to have brokered such protection from his enemies. But as long as God's people had been a nation, He'd warned them about trusting in a man or in nations. Men and nations can lead one astray; they are poor gods.

So many times I am little Judah, cowering from fear and feeling vulnerable to attack. I don't know what to do, because I can't diagnose my own situation. So where do I turn? Sometimes I turn to my Assyria to feel safe and secure: the internet for the answers, my friends for an alliance, my husband for protection, a blog for direction. It's quick, and I feel so much less vulnerable because I am managing it, I'm controlling it.

But God says, "Turn to Me. Trust in Me, not in what other quick fixes people put their trust in." Trusting Him takes great courage, because it often requires coming face-to-face with our helplessness and it also very much requires giving God space and time to answer us.

So where will we turn? Who will we place our confidence in? Whose mind do we pick? We may seek wise counsel, but, in the end, there is only One we can trust:

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20:7

No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
Psalm 33:16-17, 20-21