There is a verse in the Book of Psalms that I love. It says, “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). And I pray that God may satisfy you with His mercies, that you may rejoice and be glad all your days. Put your hand in His and know the presence of the Lord throughout your life.
Cultivate the habit of keeping your Bible open somewhere in the house. On my Bible study desk, I have every translation I can get my hands on, plus a concordance, a Bible dictionary and a few good devotional books. And always I keep a little notebook open beside my Bible so that as the Lord teaches me lessons, I can take notes.
I was recently reading Colossians 4. Paul was in prison, shackled to a Roman guard. If those Roman guards were anything as I imagine, that must have been a rather galling experience. Verse 3 says, “Praying … that God would open unto us a door …”
That’s just what I would have prayed: “Let me out of here, Lord.” Except that’s not how Paul prayed. He said, “praying … that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ.” All Paul wanted was the opportunity to share the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We can say one of two things when we hit a difficult spot. We can pray, “Save me from,” or, “Glorify Thyself.” If we learn to ask God to help us to glorify Him in life’s situations instead of seeking escape, life takes on purpose and meaning.
I think my greatest concern is for today’s mothers because it is not easy rearing children in our world. They face temptations such as we never knew. It’s up to us mothers and fathers to teach our children how to behave and what to believe. We’ve got to let them know that God loves them and is with them day by day. They need to hear from their mother and father that God cares so much for them that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in their place.
We’ve got to let them know that they can call on God any time. They need to know that God is faithful, that He is sovereign, and omnipotent, and though the world looks as if it is in a great big mess, God is still on the throne. Let them know that someday His Son will return for His own. Let them know that God never changes. And let them know that the Bible is their one sure guide.
But first, the parents themselves need to truly know and love the Lord. Kids won’t be fooled by a fake. If we love the Lord and truly enjoy Him, if we enjoy prayer and enjoy our Bibles, it is going to show. And if we don’t, it is going to show. So, learn your Bible, love your Bible and live your Bible. Love your kids and let them know it.
Children can teach us about God’s love. I remember years ago, when our children were small, I was in London for three months. I got so homesick for them that I found it hard even to pray for them. I’d say, “God, take care of them,” and jump into bed and pull the covers over my head and try to go to sleep. While I was so homesick for them, they were having a good time. I was the one who was missing them. That discovery has helped me in counseling. When someone asks, “Do you suppose God would have me back?” I could tell them from experience that God has been missing them a whole lot more than they have been missing Him.
God cares for us lots more than we could possibly care for Him. When we are away from Him, He misses us and longs to hear the sound of our voice. He longs for fellowship, not just our prayers to get things from Him, but conversation to share the little things of every day with Him. I look back in my life and thank Him for the hard times. That’s when the Bible has come to life for me. That’s when the Lord Jesus Himself has been the most real to me.
I have a friend from New York City. He came to our little town when he was on drugs. While he was here, the Lord graciously stooped down and, as Bev Shea sings, “caught his falling soul” and transformed him. My friend was the most skillful backslider I think I have ever met. He was like a roller coaster. When this prodigal bought a ticket home, he made it a round-trip one. Back and forth, back and forth, he went to the far country, but now he’s in Bible school and doing great. Sometimes he will call me to ask for advice, and when I give it to him, he will say, “Ruth, wait a minute; I’ve got to get a pencil to take notes.”
In your walk with the Lord, if you are wise, you will get out your pencil and your notebook and say, “Just a minute, Lord; I am taking notes.” ©1974 Ruth Bell Graham
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.
This article is adapted from “I Was Included,” by Ruth Bell Graham, in the May 1974 issue of Decision magazine.
Photo: Russ Busby/©1969 BGEA