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Advent, Gospel, Parenting

When Your Hopes and Dreams for Your Child Don’t Turn Out the Way You Planned

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Luke 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Parents have great hopes and dreams more often than not when they bring a child into the world. What will he or she become? We pray for health and for happiness, surely. But many pray that the gifts God bestows on them will be used well and appreciated by the child, that the gifts will be used to glorify God. Whatever the hopes and prayers, things don’t always turn out the way we expect.

At some point, when expectations are dashed, parents need to pray new prayers for their children, especially our young-adult children,: “Lord, give them the grace they need to overcome the struggles. Give them peace. Heal them. Comfort them. Be with them. Keep them safe from harm. Shield them from pain, from evil. Help them to know You’re with them always, that we’re here for them. Let them know we love them unconditionally just like You do, Lord. We may not love them as much as You do, but we love them as much as is humanly possible.”

Even Elizabeth and Zechariah were probably initially disappointed or confused, certainly, by John the Baptist’s life choices. He was living in the desert, wearing nothing but camel’s hair clothing and a leather belt, and eating honey and wild locusts. He spoke truth to power. He spoke of the Truth that is Jesus, the Lamb of God. Not so long after, Jesus would mourn his death.

What we envision for the future of our children or ourselves is rarely what occurs. God’s has a plan, and it is for our salvation. We have to trust Him and what he wants for us and our children which is, ultimately, eternal life with him. Life here isn’t always what we planned.

Lynda MacFarland


Let’s ask God, recalling the mercy he shows us through the passion, death, and resurrection of his Son, to help our unbelief.

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Advent, Bible, Gospel, Women's Ministry

Advent Devotional Wednesday, 2 December

Wednesday 2 December 

Matthew 15:29-37 

At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the  mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having  with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many  others.  They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds  were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.  Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for  fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where  could we ever get enough bread in this deserted ace to satisfy such  a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”  “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit  down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,  gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in  turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied.  They  picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full. 

I hate crowds. I don’t hate the people in them, but I really don’t like to be in the midst of a  lot of people. Today’s Gospel account includes a really large group of people who have come  out to see Jesus. And these crowds bring to Jesus a lot of people in need of healing, and Jesus  cures them. The results of these miracles cause the crowds to be amazed, and who can blame  them? 

It also causes them to glorify God, as well they should. 

But things are about to get even more astounding as Jesus, moved with compassion, asks  his disciples to feed them, for he knows everyone is hungry. Whatever provisions they may  have thought to bring along are dwindling if not gone completely. The disciples see this as an  impossible request! Of course, Jesus is able to provide more than enough food for the people  assembled. Meager offerings feed everyone, with remains of this “satisfying” meal filling seven  baskets. 4,000 men were fed. And who knows how many women and children? Matthew  doesn’t say, but I’d be willing to bet those people were amazed again, and who can blame them?  They glorified God, again, as well they should. 

The story illustrates that Jesus is able to do amazing things. We’re reminded to rely on Jesus,  even when it doesn’t seem like we have enough: enough strength; time; energy; imagination;  love; faith; or hope. Go to Jesus and ask him to bless your finite offering of yourself, and he will  make that offering sufficient for the task at hand. You will be amazed. You will glorify God when  you realize that he provides not only an adequate amount of what you lacked, but there’s some left  over, too. That’s what the grace of God can do.  

Lynda MacFarland