Sunday, January 25, 2015

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another : Why We can Love that Phrase

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”  Since becoming a parent, I have said or thought this to myself on a daily basis. There is always something that we are teaching, training, or working on with our son. 

At the time, I can recall thinking sleep training would be the end of me. We were so relieved the first evening he slept through the night. We gave each other a high five in the morning and talked about how nice things would be now that we didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night. How naive we were! That afternoon our little guy discovered he could sit up on his own. Yay! We thought, until we realized we had to do the sleep training all over again. 

Our son then learned how to crawl, walk, eat with a fork, listen and respect, and then talk. We just got through with potty training and now it’s time to think about moving to the big boy bed! As soon as one thing is over, we are on to the next thing. 

Do we complain or hope that he slows down in his development so that we can have a break? No way! I might casually complain about lack of sleep, or the amount of poop I have cleaned up that day, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. We want our children to develop, and we don’t want to hinder them. Development is a good thing; it’s all part of growing up and becoming responsible adults.  

There will come a time when, as parents, we will have a break from the continuous disciplining and training. Our children will leave the nest, with a head full of knowledge and skills that we have taught them, and they will form their own family. 

Does the development then stop? Does the continuous training, disciplining and guiding stop? Does the phrase ‘if it’s not one thing, it’s another’ finally slow down? For earthly parents it does slow down; however, our Heavenly Father is just getting started. 

God develops, disciplines, and trains us for our entire lives. Just like in childhood, that is a good thing. If we are not growing in our faith, if God is not training and disciplining us, then where are we going? 

The authors of Hebrews, chapter 12, discuss how life is like a race. Our relationship with God is the race track, and Heaven is the finish line. We will never be free from sin so we are on a continuous race until we get to heaven. God brings us closer to Him by guiding, training, and disciplining us. It will be exhausting and painful at times, but that’s a good thing, because it means we are making progress and getting closer to the finish line.

Although sleep training, potty training and disciplining are not fun, we don’t hold back from it for a second because it is absolutely necessary for their development. Ironically, when our children become adults, we need to step back, let them fall, and learn to rely on God for strength and grace. 

Likewise, we as adults need to understand that we are not done with our race. We will still fall, we will make mistakes, we will sin, and in doing so, we will grow and develop into the people God created us to be. 

Hebrews 12: 7-8 says “endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined, (and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons”. 

In order to enter heaven feeling confident that we have run a good race, we must allow God to discipline us. We must accept that “if it’s not one thing, it’s another” will not always feel like a burden. As the shackles in the form of sin begin to fall off of us the race will seem lighter. As your relationship with God grows, the peace, joy and satisfaction that can only be found through God will shine. 

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another” will always be our circumstances, because God is always at work in our lives, molding and shaping us in His image. 

Often times, when we work hard at something, we want to see the results right away. In our life here on earth, we will reap the rewards from obeying and serving God, however; our real reward will come when we spend eternity in Heaven. 

Every amount of hard work, training, and discipline that you instill in your children will guide them closer to becoming responsible, civil adults. Every minute you spend teaching your children about Jesus will help plant seeds of faith into their hearts. Every time you open your Bible, pray to God, and ask God to work in your life, you are accepting God’s training and discipline on your life. Accept this with open arms, trusting that the rewards will far out way any discomfort that will be felt.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11-13). 

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