My nearly fifteen year old son learning to drive is unnerving my peace of mind. “Dad,” he said to me from behind the steering wheel, “You’re actually really terrified aren’t you?” It must have been my stomping the invisible break petal on the passenger side floorboard that gave it away!
We all look forward to monumental moments in our lives. We don’t all think carefully or biblically about how we are going to get through them when they come. We look forward to their high school graduation but are as worried for their safety as they head off to college as we were when they tool their first step.
Here are 4 biblical concepts that I’ve learned and am always relearning about mastering monumental moments in our lives.
1. Deal with it sooner than later. You can’t procrastinate your way out of monumental moments. The clock is ticking dad. The deadline is rapidly approaching mom. Like it or not, the monumental moment is on its way and there is no way to slow that train. Worse yet, if you’re not ready today, you won’t be ready tomorrow.
In II Thessalonians 3:11 the most intriguing word is found on the topic of the necessity of hard work. “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.” (KJV) “Busybodies.” I have wondered for years where that word came from. Why is it here or on the street used to describe someone who is nosy or ide? If they are busybodies then aren’t they fast at work? Aren’t they Busy? So, I looked into it.
In the underlying Greek the word comes from a compound of two words. It is the combination of “to work” and “around.” Moms and dads, we can’t work around the impending doom of a learners permit. Proactive parenting can’t prevent the encroaching anxiety of monumental moments, but I’ve always found that it is always better to face something head on than to let it sneak up behind me.
2. Be mindful of a loose tongue. Ok. I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a Pastor. I’m a Missionary. I’m also a former Marine. Apparently under extreme pressure brought on by watching your son look left with a blinking left turn signal, just plain turn right into oncoming traffic, it is possible to actually travel back in time and actually become a barking sergeant again. Who knew?!
“You’re stressing me out dad!” It took me a few seconds to regather my composure in order to muster the calm to say, “Son, the blinker lets other drivers know what we’re doing. We must then do what we’ve signaled them we are going to do.” That was after a few phrases he’d not heard me say before and that I frankly didn’t know still lived deep inside of me.
It’s not just loud words that are the danger here. Monumental moments can be so overwhelming that we can say things to those we love that really don’t mean. We must guard the tongue in times of transition. “And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:6 NLT)
Words carry weight. Let’s be prayerful and mindful about our words in these times and use words in worthy ways. Stay awake to the power of the tongue.
3. Cling to God’s love. I cling to the promise of God’s love leading to heaven every time I place the “Patience: Student Driver” magnets on my van. But that’s not really what I’m talking about here. Remember that Gods’ love is active, observing, and has a goal. God’s love is present in your pain. And pain is often present in monumental moments because they always involve some sort of life transition.
A father giving his daughter away at her wedding, even to a great man, can be a frightening proposition. As much as a mother wants to watch her son marry a beautiful girl, she may grapple with feelings of loss. In times of major life transition, cling to the love of God. God’s love is active and present. His love is observing and has a goal. Maybe that’s the piece we forget most often.
Romans 8:28 is a sure source of strength in monumental moments. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (NLT) God is bringing about His greatest glory and our ultimate good, even and especially in these difficult times.
4. Be thankful. Gratitude is the greatest glorifier. It’s also a prerequisite to growth. Being grateful that this boy has grown to a place of being able to learn to drive is a great source of hope for me. Being thankful to the Lord for the gift of this young man is a kind of springboard for strength. God is bringing about His glory through this child of man as well. God has a plan for my son to go places in the world.
In Psalms 118:28-29 we read, “You are my God, and I will praise You! You are my God, and I will exalt You! Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (NLT) Thankfulness is a cure for worry. Gratefulness is a gift we give to God as gratitude and get back from God as healing.
A century ago, Chesterton said, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Approach them head on. They are on the way whether we like it or not. Guard our tongues. Let’s not give in to the temptation to say things we’ll regret. Cling to God’s active love. Be grateful.
Master monumental moments with gratitude, knowing that God is weaving together an artist’s tapestry in the complexities of our lives. We must not let monumental moments get the better of us, “Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.
(II Peter 3:18 NLT)