I open my eyes at the sound of stirring in the bassinet beside me. A cry escapes my baby, and then another.
Yawning, I glance at the clock – 5:45 am.
I pull myself out of bed and pick up my little one.
Carrying her through the dim hallway to the living room, I talk to her.
“Did you have a good sleep? Are you hungry again?”
Her eyes drift into sleep, but then scrunch as her cries resume with renewed force.
I settle myself on the couch to nurse her.
As she feeds, my eyes droop dangerously. I shake my head to ward off the drowsiness.
I calculate back to the last time I fed her. I have managed an hour and a half of sleep since then.
When my baby finishes nursing, she sprawls in a milk coma, limp and asleep.
Gratefully, I gingerly carry her back to the bassinet before slipping into my own bed.
I glance at the clock. It’s just after 6:00 am.
My baby will have time to be awake and play later, but for now I pull my blankets snug and let my eyes close.
A short cry wakes me. I hear stirrings beside me.
I glance at the clock – 7:45 am.
Laying still, I listen as the stirrings increase until the cry resumes.
Pushing aside the blankets, I stretch. Time to feed the baby again.
Lifting my crying baby, I head toward the living room again. At least this time I feel more awake.
In 1 Peter 2:2, we read, “Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up into your salvation,…” (CSB)
How often do newborns crave milk? Do they only want to eat once a week on Sundays? Or perhaps once a day?
No. A newborn baby is likely to want to eat every 2-3 hours, resulting in eight feeds a day.
This leads me to ask myself the question: “How often do I crave the Word of God?”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells me what this can look like.
“These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.” (CSB)
I know I have much room for growth in this area.
Newborns crave milk with a passion. When hungry, they zealously plea to be satisfied.
Their hunger is not some passive, “I can do that later.”
They exclaim, “I need food now!”
How urgent is my desire to be in the Bible? How often do I ponder the things of God?
I have one last thought to share before I wrap up this post. For it I must return to 1 Peter.
If I back up one verse to 1 Peter 2:1, I read, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.” (CSB)
I am to rid myself of these ungodly things to help free me up to desire the Word of God.
I’ve noticed something similar in my baby.
Milk goes in and poo comes out. When the poo gets delayed and doesn’t come out for several days, it seems her appetite drops due to lack of space in her little belly.
Then comes the moment when she empties out her poo (and we hope the diaper contains it all). Once that’s done, she is ravenously hungry. Why? Because she has space again.
(Please note I am not a doctor or nurse, but simply a mom making observations and guessing at the reasons behind them.)
I suspect similar is true for me.
In order for me to rightly desire to be in the Word, in a way comparable to a baby desiring milk, my heart must be right. If my heart is full of envy or deceit, it will have no room to ponder the things of God.
Do not misunderstand. This is not a matter of salvation. Being saved and born again is a free gift from God. (To read more about this good news, check out The Gospel.)
This, rather, is talking to those who are already saved (see 1 Peter 2:3). It is referring to how I am to be growing toward maturity in my walk with the Lord (see 1 Peter 2:2b).
So how is my intake of the Bible doing? How often am I making room in my heart to feast on the very Word of God? How often do my thoughts revolve around the things of God?
Not as often as I would like.
Lord, help me to desire more of Your Word and to be intentional to make time to read and ponder it.
Have you ever heard the age-old debate about the “proper” way to fold towels and sheets?
Should the towels be folded in half and then in thirds? Or perhaps in thirds and then in quarters? No, the best way might be simply in half and then in half again.
It seems every established housewife or business that uses towels claims a different way to be the best and only correct way to fold towels.
During my Bible school days, I attended three different schools all run by the same parent organization. I was surprised just how different they did things at each school. Those differences included how they folded the towels. In fact, in one of the schools, towels had to be folded differently based on whether they were guest towels or kitchen towels.
When I got married and moved into a new place, it took a few weeks to figure out a way of folding towels to enable them to fit into our narrow cupboard while allowing the cupboard door to close.
“So, what’s the point?” you may be asking.
The lesson hidden in the midst of the many towel folding techniques is simple, yet ever so complex.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV tells me:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”
A time for what, you may ask? The following verses mention many examples, including:
“A time to be born and a time to die…”
“A time to plant and a time to uproot…”
“A time to weep and a time to laugh…”
“A time to search and a time to give up…”
“A time to keep and a time to throw away…”
“A time to tear and a time to mend…”
“A time to be silent and a time to speak…”
Throughout the Bible I see examples of this. There was a time for Israel and his sons to plant themselves in Egypt, and a time for them to uproot themselves and leave. The Apostle Paul sometimes stayed put in the face of persecution, but at other times fled. Sometimes Jesus was silent, while at other times He spoke with great boldness.
In Luke 10:4, Jesus sent out His disciples with instructions to not bring a purse or bag, but later, in Luke 22:35-36, we read:
“Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’
‘Nothing,’ they answered.
He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'” (NIV)
Why do I point out these things? Because it is valuable for me to be reminded from time to time that, while the core doctrines and what is right or wrong do not change, the best actions to take or the best way to respond may vary from situation to situation.
I often have seen this clearly in my preschool teaching. Some children learn well by sitting quietly, but for others, having movement incorporated helps them pay attention for longer. Some children respond well with a gentle word of correction, while others need firm consequences clearly laid out.
So how do I know what to do in each situation? I don’t. However, previous experience, knowledge of the situation, being well grounded in the Bible, and walking in tune with Jesus all help.
Indeed, may my prayer be like that of David in Psalm 25:4-5,
“Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.” (NKJV)
So how do you fold your towels? I currently fold bath towels in thirds and then in quarters because it’s the best way I’ve found to make them fit on my narrow shelf.
How deep are your roots?
Back when I studied in Germany, there was a forested area I enjoyed slipping away to in the afternoons. This allegory is from my time there.
I pulled on my runners and slipped out the door. With a smile, I breathed in the fresh rainy air. After a morning in lectures and a noisy meal in the dining hall, it was lovely to be outside.
To fend off the chilly edge in the air I tugged on my jacket zipped.
I had a couple of hours before I needed to return to the school, so I headed past the charming little stone church built decades before and followed the street.
After a time, I veered off on a side path. It was slightly muddy due to the dampness of the day.
Softly I sang as I walked, whispering my favourite worship songs into the emptiness of the world around me.
I stooped to check on a familiar stream. It was flowing well today.
When a bird fluttered nearby I paused to watch. As it flew away, I strolled on.
At length, my way led me into a more wild section of forest. It had no paths to guide my feet, but I didn’t mind. I knew the patch of forest was surrounded by civilization on all sides. I couldn’t get too lost.
As I roamed freely among the trees, pausing to study the vines clinging to the tree trunks, or the moss underfoot, I noticed a fallen tree. Had it been there the last time I’d wandered through? I couldn’t remember.
Approaching the fallen tree, I eyed its base. How odd it was.
The tree had not broken its trunk nor torn off from its roots.
Rather, the roots had stayed with the tree and taken much of the ground with it.
Indeed as I rounded the bottom of the tree, I marvelled at the layer of rocky soil now vertically suspended nearly as high as I was tall.
I leaned closer, wondering if I could spot evidence of larger roots still in the ground. I couldn’t.
The tree’s roots hadn’t broken, but they also hadn’t been deep enough to properly anchor the tree. Not only that, but the soil into which the roots had grown was too loose and rocky to keep the tree secure.
Marvelling at the sight, I pondered what I could learn from it.
It didn’t take long to think of an application.
The Bible mentions roots several times.
One example of this is in the Parable of the Sower. The seeds sown on rocky soil have no root. They hear the word and receive it, but when trouble comes they fall away for lack of root. (You can read the parable in Matthew 13:3-8,18-23.)
Challenges come in life.
For a tree, those challenges may be strong winds, heavy snow, or simply the weight of the tree’s own branches. If the tree doesn’t have strong enough roots, it will tip over.
In the case of the tree I observed in that forest, the tree had roots, but they weren’t deep enough or in good enough soil to hold the tree upright in the challenges of life. The roots themselves didn’t break, but they took the loose rocky soil with them when they tipped.
The question to ask myself, then, is how are my roots doing? Do I have deep roots? What sort of soil are my roots anchored into? Am I anchoring my life in Jesus?
In closing, here is another place the Bible mentions roots that serves as a valuable reminder for me.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7 ESV)