Daily Devotional: It was Never Between You & Them Anyway

mother holding baby 11 Samuel 1:1-20

In the story of Hanna’s cry for God to give her a son, I am reminded that all of life as gift. If there is anything or anyone we think of as ours it is our children. We passionately care for them, and fiercely defend them from their first birthing cry.   And no wonder, for there is little as precious to us as a newborn child, a fruit of our lives, our love, and our bodies.

But the lesson of the story of Samuel is that even these gifts are not ours. Our children are sent from God and return to God. We care for them, rear them with love, with the express purpose of them leaving our home. “For this reason,” both Genesis and Jesus remind us, “one shall leave their parents and cleave unto their spouse”.

In a way others don’t often recognize, Hanna and other parents of Scripture whose children come through prayer and explicit blessing from God are shown what is true for all children: they come from God. Ultimately they have a purpose, one which they must fulfill even if that doesn’t fit your wish for them as a parent. You must learn to love them in a way that doesn’t own or control them, but recognizes them as a gift of God, as ones who must begin a journey with God that is their own.

That’s a hard thing.

A part of the lesson of this goes to parents. It is very easy to want to project onto our children our hopes, our dreams for who they can be.   We can hope to live our dreams vicariously for father-and-daughter-silhouette-494x329them. That is a weight and burden God does not intend us to lay upon our children.   For they are intended to spread their wings, soar, and enter into God’s dream for them which may be similar to ours but often is wonderfully unexpected and surprising. We must embrace our children – and all whom we love – in ways that sends them the message we love and honor them even if the path they trod is not what we would have chosen. For who knows? It might be God’s very path for them. I am sure mother Mary did not hope for her son to be cut down on a Roman cross in the prime of his life, and wept over his path. But you and I know her son Jesus’ path was the only one for him, He had to follow his Creator’s call.

A second lesson I hear is to all of us who have felt the pain of receiving the message from those close to us that our path isn’t their dream for us.   That hurts. But ultimately we are sent into this world not to fulfill our parents’, our siblings’, or our spouse’s dream for us but God’s. And I find God’s, though it may include the best of some of all these dreams, is often slightly different than both theirs’ and our own. We must give up our need for other’s acceptance of who we are, leaning instead upon God’s. This attitude is beautifully pictured in the words of a poem Mother Teresa kept pinned to her wall:
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

For me this story reminds me that I need to remember when others close to me – children, friends, parents, my children, my spouse – fail to live up to my dream for them, that it was never between me and them anyway. It is between them and God. And I need to give them the grace of discovering the path God has for them.

It reminds me too that when I in subtle and not-so-subtle ways am given the message I am not the man my daddy, my momma, my brothers, my sisters, my spouse, my friends, my society think I should be, I have to lay aside a need for their approval. I have to look to God and what God is saying, realizing it never was between me and them anyway.

This message reminds me of the beautiful words of baptism hymn a pastor of mine who truly inspired me and passed some short time ago loved.   Its word to me succinctly describe the words God is saying to us each day, from our birth on, inviting us to discover God’s dream and call personally over the many voices of life:

“”I was there to hear your borning cry,

I’ll be there when you are old.

I rejoiced the day you were baptized,

to see your life unfold.

I was there when you were but a child,

with a faith to suit you well;

In a blaze of light you wandered off

to find where demons dwell.”

“When you heard the wonder of the Word

I was there to cheer you on;

You were raised to praise the living Lord,

to whom you now belong.

If you find someone to share your time

and you join your hearts as one,

I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme

from dusk ’till rising sun.”

In the middle ages of your life,

not too old, no longer young,

I’ll be there to guide you through the night,

complete what I’ve begun.

When the evening gently closes in,

and you shut your weary eyes,

I’ll be there as I have always been

with just one more surprise.”

“I was there to hear your borning cry,

I’ll be there when you are old.

I rejoiced the day you were baptized,

to see your life unfold.”

May you hear that voice and call today & all your days.

I’m not just whistling Dixie here,

Your progressive redneck preacher,


kat and mich


One thought on “Daily Devotional: It was Never Between You & Them Anyway

  1. Jean Mathews says:

    “I was there to hear your borning cry, I’ll be there when you are old.” That song really speaks to me. Thank you!

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