1 Thessalonians 3:9, 12-13 (NIV)
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
The verses I chose to reflect on today — from a larger passage — are part of Paul’s response to a report from Timothy who returned to Athens after a visit to Thessalonica. But they speak to me today in the way I view my kids. As I write this (trying to beat my self-imposed midnight deadline) I have just returned from our small group meeting. I went myself since Kristie wanted to stay home with Charlie, who is running a triple-digit fever for the first time in his short life.
In the context of Charlie’s illness, but more so a few events of this week and specifically the direction of the discussion at tonight’s session, I was reminded yet again of what a gift we have been given in the form of our children. If we look at our children as gifts from God, and specifically as an opportunity to let us experience joy in God’s presence, then there really is no way to adequately thank God. Such joy is beyond measure, and our humanity limits us from appropriately thanking the divine.
Of course, there actually are many things we can do — or attitudes we can adopt — in respect of the gift and responsibility of children. Perhaps some day I will expound on that concept, but for now, on this night, I simply want to bask in my blessings (while acknowledging I am unworthy of God’s favor). Again, in simple terms, I am so happy to have my family.
I was compelled tonight to remember a specific time in my life when I realized the importance of true family bonds and how that inflamed my own desire — before I’d even met Kristie — to one day have a family and to make that my top priority. I don’t know where I would be in life if I was still searching for a partner, or if we were still trying to bring children to the world. Kristie, Jack, Max and Charlie have become the essence of my being and they make me who I am, I simply cannot consider the possibility of life not shaping up as it has in this regard. There are no words for me to adequately express how this makes me feel.
I guess in all I’m taking a lot of words to make the same point several different ways. Speak with me in person long enough and you’ll learn I converse as I write, for better or (mostly) for worse. In essence, this passage has given me yet another thing to consider in all my dealings with the boys: How can I thank God enough for you?
A prayer for May 4:
Lord, I know I can never thank you enough for my wife and our children, but I pledge to try by living a life worthy of you. I pray for my children to grow to be able to love each other as we love them, and I ask you to strengthen their hearts. I know they will never be blameless or holy, but I also know you have redeemed them with grace regardless. Help me teach them the understanding of their salvation in you, and may I never forget what a blessing it is to be a father. Amen.