By Hannah Svebakken
“If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves?” (Psalm 127:1-2 The Message)
Maybe you, like me, have been spending a lot of time in your home recently. When I read the Apostle Peter’s charge to “love one another deeply” (1 Peter 4:8), I am immediately and constantly faced with the five other people who share this home with me.
Unless God builds the house and guards the city, it’s useless. If you are working and striving from a place of worry and fear, it’s useless. God gives rest to those he loves. Rest is a gift that our Father loves to give. When you look to Him, relying on His strength, and submitting to His Lordship, you are at rest (Psalm 91:1-2). Worry and fear are so very common. The concept of “working worried fingers to the bone” rings as true today as it did when the psalmist wrote the words. And the act is just as useless now as it was then.
Fight worry by resting in the Lord, taking each moment as it comes directly from His hand to you. Look to Him for your guidance (1 Peter 5:6-7). Line your heart up with what He is doing in this situation, not seeking to control or build your own house. Let Him build it. He’s a really good builder. He is good at being God. He never asked you to try to be God, but just to rest and submit to Him (James 4:7-8). He gets a lot of glory this way and it’s sure a lot more peaceful on our part as well.
Oswald Chambers says it well: “Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life – gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.” When you are placing all of your hope in God coming through for you, there is an air of excitement of what He is going to do. When we are taking control of making sure our own little worlds turn out perfect, there is much room for anxiety. We are God’s children! It is our joy to submit to and rest in Him!
Psalm 127 goes on:
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.”
Our Father, who is a family-builder (Ephesians 3:15), often chooses to give children as a beautiful gift. We then raise those children to be shot out as arrows into the world on behalf of God’s Kingdom. Oh how our world needs love-saturated arrows to be shot out as good-news bearers. As we raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), we are doing an important work that honors God and furthers His Kingdom.
One way that we’ve been inviting God to build our house is during family devotionals. As my children have gotten older, we have transitioned from children’s story Bibles (which we’ve loved), to reading God’s very Word together. We are reading in the gospel of John together this summer. My husband and I take turns reading a passage out loud and then we all discuss it together. What a beautiful thing it has been to read about the life of our Savior, hear His very words, and flesh them out together. The Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Way, the Truth and the Life has spoken to us. What a gift to gather together to listen and respond. After discussion, we each pray aloud, thanking Him for His many gifts to us and presenting our requests to Him.
Read the Gospel of John this summer with your children Click To Tweet
I pray that the Lord uses these times together to open our hearts to Him (Ephesians 1:18). We come to Him, the Builder of this house, and ask for His Living Word to pierce our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). May we not harden our hearts, but strive to enter the rest that He delights to give (Hebrews 4:11).
Because of the great love that’s been poured out on us, we have been set free to live lives of love (Ephesians 2:4-10). We’ve been empowered by Christ’s own Spirit to obey (John 14:15-17).
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
Hannah Svebakken is everyone’s favorite nurturer. With a life-long heart for hospitality, Hannah extends her definition of family to everyone she knows through words and deeds, including phenomenal baked goods. Juggling her schedule between four schooled-aged children and two part-time graphic jobs (one of which includes Hungry For More graphics for her mother), Hannah still finds time to mentor young women. If asked her secret to raising children, she would point to desperate prayer and a dependence upon God’s Word. Hannah grew up in Taiwan and currently lives in Jackson, Tennessee with her husband, Steve, and their children.