That’s What Parents Do

 The fruit of the Spirit is love . . . – Galatians 5:23(RSV)

We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19 (RSV)

 At first I thought I had a flat tire. I was on my way to Johnstown to take my college-age son to the doctor’s. He’d called earlier, asking me what my schedule was for the day.

“I have a list of things to do,” I said. “Why?”

“Never mind,” he mumbled.

Turns out he needed a ride to the doctor’s office because he couldn’t shake a weeks-long bout with congestion and persistent coughing, and his car was in the repair shop—that is, Dad’s repair shop, with possibly a blown motor. My husband had driven to Johnstown two days earlier to bring it home and, hopefully, fix it or get it fixed. At our expense, of course. Most college kids don’t have the money it takes to fix cars. At least, ours doesn’t. He barely had enough to keep it running.

So I put aside my do-list, gathered the makings of homemade chicken soup, stuffed my checkbook in my purse, and headed for Johnstown. That’s what parents do.

It was on the other side of Northern Cambria that I heard the whoomp-whoomp-whoomp. I pulled over, put on the four-ways, and got out. None of the tires, though, were flat. But as I walked in front of my 11-year-old Explorer, which boasts nearly 164,000 miles, I heard what sounded like little stones hitting the inside of the hood. I checked the gauges—all were showing normal readings. The sound soon ceased, and, after checking the gauges again and listening to the engine, which sounded like it always does, I was on my way.

That evening, with half a tank of gas less than I had before my unexpected trip and $57 more on my credit card (for medicine—that’s what parents do), I arrived home. My husband popped the hood, examined the engine, then came and got me.

“Look.” He pointed to the belt that runs the engine and just about everything else.

It was split in half—but lengthwise. Although half the belt was twisted up and useless, the other half still held, running the engine and getting me home safely.

“You ran on prayer. He scratched his head. “I don’t know how that held.”

Or how the broken half didn’t twist around the motor, stopping everything.

I grinned.

“My Father,” I said, the warm fuzzy reaching from my heart to my lips, “takes good care of me.”

You see, that’s what parents do.

Dear God, thank You for Your awesome love for and care of me. It’s exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or imagine. Amen.

Read and reflect on 1 John 4:7–21.

For more on God’s love, read Romans 8: 31-39; Ephesians 3:17-20; Psalm 139; Psalm 103:11; Isaiah 43:4 … gee, the entire Bible is filled with His love for us!

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey.

Zealous God: A God with Gusto

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “Z”

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. –Isaiah 59:17 ESV

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” –John 2:17 ESV

Zeal. What, exactly, is it?

One online dictionary defines it as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective.” Synonyms include passion, fervor, and gusto.

You don’t hear the word zeal used too much today. I wonder if the intensity of the word and its meaning cause people to back off. I mean, another synonym is committedness, root word commit. When you commit yourself to something or someone, you determine to see it through to the end, come what may.

Take marriage, for instance. When you pledge to become one until “death do us part,” you make a commitment to your spouse that you’ll work together to stay together come what may—sickness and health, poverty and prosperity, good times and bad times—you vow to love and cherish your mate for better or worse for the rest of your lives.

Promises made are only as good as promises kept. Life happens, people change, and love wanes, and we don’t fight for it. Like tending a garden, in order to survive the droughts, the storms, the scorching temperatures, the freezing ones, the bugs, the blights, the bunnies and other critters, you must be diligent at consistently nurturing and cultivating it.

That’s where zeal comes in.

I use marriage here as an example, but other pursuits in life also thrive on zeal. Such as rearing children, getting an education, learning a new skill, pursuing a career, developing God-given talents, helping others.

What does this have to do with God?

The Bible describes Him as a zealous God. Some translations use the word jealous, but that word has too many negative connotations.

God is zealous for His children—for you, for me. He is committed to us with a love that is unconditional, meaning it doesn’t depend on what we say or do or how we feel. We can run as far away from Him as we want (well, we can try), but we will never outrun His presence, His provision, His protection, and His love.

We are the cause, the objective He pursues with passion, fervor, and gusto. Why?

Simply this: He loves us.

He loves us so much that He gave us a free will to decide for ourselves whether we want to return that love or reject it. He loves us so much that He hates the sin that separates us from Him. He loves us so much that He sent His own Son to take the punishment for that sin so that we can be with Him forever in the place He’s prepared for us.

Imagine a father standing over the crib of his sleeping child. That’s God standing over us. In the words of the prophet Zephaniah, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV).

No matter what. Come what may.

He is zealous for you.

My mind just can’t wrap around that kind of love, O God. But I am so thankful for it. Indeed, I can’t exist without it. As Your child, may I inherit a portion of Your zeal, so that I may reflect You to the world around me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Zephaniah 3:17.


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