Sunday, January 23, 2011
God cannot fill hands that are closed. -Augustine
I recently heard this quote from a friend and I've been pondering it daily.
God cannot fill hands that are closed.
Hmm. What does that mean in my life? In what areas are my hands closed off to God's blessings? Looking back over this past year, I can see one very clear example.
We have four beautiful children. Four healthy, intelligent, vibrant youngsters who fill our days with joy. We are pouring our lives into them. And we enjoy it. We see the tremendous blessings that come with parenthood. We've noticed that as we change to be more Christ centered in our parenting, our own lives are so much better.
So, what would be so bad about God giving us a fifth child? Funny you should ask!
Our youngest will be five next month. After he was born, we agreed that four blessings was definitely enough. Society begins to look at you strangely if you have more than four, and five really didn't fit into the plan we had made when we first married. Back then we'd said three or four. So, at four it was definitely time to be done!
Except that God kept tugging at our hearts. He kept pushing at our assumptions that a smaller family was happier. That we couldn't possibly handle more than four children. That it would be too big of a financial strain to have more children. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Then, last February, Josh went to Kenya. He saw the incredible poverty there. He saw firsthand how incredibly rich and priviledged we are here in the States. He also recognized how very blessed our children are to be growing up in a household where the top priority is for them to know the Lord. To love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.
So began a very long discussion between husband and wife. A discussion that included looking carefully at the lives of friends with various family sizes. A discussion that included research, insecurity, prayer, tears, disagreements and finally ...
Surrender. Open hands.
We finally realized that every reason we put forth for not wanting more children was based purely on our own selfish motives. If we have more kids, how OLD will we be when they finally leave the nest? If we have more kids, we'll feel so cramped in our house. If we have more kids, we'll afford less stuff. If we have more kids, it'll be more work. If we have more kids, we'll be back to the sleepless nights, diaper changes, potty training and spit up.
Looking at it that way, I'm surprised we ever had any kids!
But what about the flip side? If we have more kids, we'll have more wonderful lives to pour ourselves into. If we have more kids, just think of the impact our children could have for the Kingdom of God! (The Bible says that children of believers are like arrows in the hands of a warrior!) If we have more kids, we'd have more joyous experiences - more laughs, more fun, more teachable moments, more of the good kind of chaos. If we have more kids, our legacy will grow exponentially - a legacy that we pray will bring great glory to God!
Finally, we agreed to open our hands. We agreed to let God bless us with another child should he so desire. And desire he did! In our very first month with hands open, the Lord filled our outstreched palms. He has provided us with another child on the way.
And we are thrilled! Oh, yes, we're enduring a few comments of, "Another one!! Why would you want to do that?" Well, here's why:
When you open your hands to the Lord, he doesn't pour down sulfur. He doesn't fill your hands with burning coals. He rains down blessings on your life. Sometimes in the forms of trials. But always in the form of his provision and grace.
I will open my hands to the Lord. The giver of all good things. The creator, sustainer and filler of life.
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
Remember, "God cannot fill hands that are closed." Why are your hands closed? Open them! And receive fullness of life.