By Karla Hein
“Growing up is a big job.” Our young son informed us after a hard day of learning. I get it; I feel the same way sometimes.
This morning, I had carefully written out the beginning of Psalm 34 (NASB) in my journal. “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice. Exalt the Lord with me, And let’s exalt His name together.” I even took the time to carefully circle and underline key words as I processed the commitment of the psalmist. “Continual praise” I jotted down under the verse. Then, a few hours later, I found out my mom’s cancer had returned.
Eighteen months post-surgery and multiple follow-up checkups had lulled me into mentally crossing Mom’s cancer off my list. While my dad and my father-in-law continued their long trudges with cancer, it was a relief to have reprieve from my mother’s medical trauma.
“It said at all times,” I reminded my despondent heart. “His praise continually in my mouth.”
These inner battles are fierce! Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, do not be anxious…the directives scattered throughout Scripture seem as little pebbles in my shoe, reminding me that my allegiance to Christ means submission in the small things also. I have declared myself a follower of Christ. I have been bought by him to glorify him alone (1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 2:20). Even the days I feel overwhelmed with responsibility, I am told to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4). Though my business falters, yet will I praise him (Hab. 3:17–18). When my mom faces another surgery, I will praise because my hope is found only in him (Psalm 62).
Before every Sunday School lesson, my exuberant kindergarten students practice Psalm 23 (NASB1995). The greatest gift I can give these young children is the Word of God hidden in their hearts. A chorus of precious voices fills our classroom.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Their little faces eagerly stare up at me as they recite.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” Small hands carefully follow my every action.
“I fear no evil.” Every week, I realize that the gift of Scripture has not been given to my students alone.
“For You are with me.” For You are with me.
The little pebbles that conform me into his image, persistently stretch and shatter my perceptions. But the comfort of his presence and the hope of an eternity with him is worth more than the self-gratifying conveniences of this life. For where else would I go? The Master to whom I surrender has the words of eternal life! (John 6:68).