I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121
Throughout Scripture the Lord tells us He is “WITH” us, “WATCHES” us, “HEARS” us, and “LOVES” us always. Know that He never takes His eyes off you for one moment, that He is never distracted but watches your every move, protects every step, and provides for all you need for the days He designed for you. This should bring immense strength, power, courage, meaning, affirmation, and an abundance of love that fills us and fuels us in all we think, feel, say, and do. Remembering He is watching and with us, shields us against the lies of the enemy that we are alone, unworthy of love, insignificant, and other lies the enemy whispers to us as Satan prompts us to isolate or rebel.
Many years ago, I wrote a devotional in which I stated that children spell “love” T-I-M-E. At that time, spending time with your children showed and showered them with much needed attention, affirmation, and affection. Every human being needs these as well as the acknowledgement of the significance and priority they hold in your life. I now feel compelled to update that statement from almost twenty years ago, as I now believe children would spell “love,” W-I-T-H.
The word “with” is defined, “used as a function word to indicate the object of attention, behavior, or feeling and to indicate participation in an action.” Now, plug this into the true definition of being with someone; the object of all of you attention, action, and affection as you participate in whatever conversation and activity you are engaged in while you are “with” them. This helps us understand there is a difference in just spending time in the same place vs. paying attention, fully watching and listening while you are WITH them. Our mere presence does not make one present.
Times change but the way God knit us together does not. He created us for relationship; real relationships that provide security and love; the kind of love defined in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 and the kind of relationship He assures us time and time again that we have with Him.
God brought this to my attention on a recent visit to a popular theme park. My heart was broken by the number of adults who were completely ignoring their spouse and children while talking loudly on business phone calls or distracted on their phones. Meanwhile their children were calling out, “Look dad, look, please look!” or ‘Mom, watch me, watch, did you see? Are you listening?” I saw many children go from elated to frustrated, giving their parents disappointed and even disgusted looks. I am sure these are not the memories these parents wanted to create as they paid a tremendous amount of money to go on vacation but unfortunately they were not really “with” their family. It broke my heart because I have been guilty of this at times – many times. I will be with a group of people I love and have not seen in a long time and be on my phone answering email or texts. I have gone to other countries and instead of looking out the window and seeing things I might only see once in a lifetime, I miss them because I am stuck in my phone or computer screen. My body may be there, but my eyes, ears and attention are elsewhere, and I miss the blessing and probably the mission of the moment because I choose not to be “with” them but take my attention “elsewhere.”
I have many responsibilities and so do you, but I want to challenge you as I have been, to let your heart take a look at your priorities and the possibility that we have believed the lie that people should just know that we love them, with or without showing them our attention and affection.
Throughout the month of February we pray over the beautifully God-designed relationships of Marriage and Family. Will you please join me in praying now?
Lord Jesus, we thank You for making us a part of the family of God; His children brought together by Your love and sacrifice, made in the image of God and called to magnify and manifest our Heavenly Father and the forever family that loves us more than we could ever imagine. Thank You for loving us, watching us and the promise that You are always with us. Prompt us not just to say, “I love you,” but to show it. We pray right now for marriages, a covenant made with You, a husband and wife to love, honor, and cherish one another. May Your love, Your Word, guide every marriage and prompt us to give our family the attention, affirmation, and affection they need and deserve daily. Let the parent’s hearts be turned toward their children and the children’s hearts to the parents; pull out the evil root of rebellion, unfaithfulness, and abandonment in family relationships that should be rooted in You. Restore the family to Your design, filled with Your sacrificial example of love, always and forevermore. In the loving and life-giving name of Jesus we pray, Amen!
Serving Him with gladness,