- Cullman, Alabama


May 26, 2014

SOUTHERN STYLE: Through different eyes

While scrolling through Facebook today, I saw a prayer that someone posted. It made me think, because I knew that this man had become a father in the last few years, that he was seeing the world through different eyes now — the eyes of a parent.

It started me thinking about how we view the world as a person vs. as a parent. It’s vastly different. We might not all be parents, but we are all the child of a parent, so everyone should be able to relate.

As a single person, before my children came along, I was focused on a whole different set of priorities, mainly clothes, record albums, and the current boyfriend, or lack thereof. A few years down the road and it was diapers, formula, meal plans and money, or lack thereof. As my children (and I) matured, our view of the world around us shifted to work, social situations, swimming lessons, school, softball, and money, or lack thereof.

But somewhere, as the years went by, as toddlers grew into teens and teens into young adults, somewhere around the time of their birth, until the present, my view of the world began to include God and how important He is to the future of our children.

When I saw my first child, my only son, for the first time, I remember thinking, “Oh, how can I do this? I’m someone’s parent! How will I know the right things to say, what to teach him as he grows up?” I’m sure all parents face a version of those thoughts when confronted with the new life that they are responsible for.

The answer is that God will know and He will guide us. But the mistakes are totally ours — those mistakes we all make, and some I’ve made with exclamation marks behind them, are all a part of the learning process. It takes years of experience to know that God has it handled; we just need to listen and follow His guidance.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most prayers are answered in one way or another, although they might not be in the way we envisioned. We may be praying for strength and receive humility. We might pray for financial gain and receive lessons in learning to live without so many material things. Many times we pray for health when we are confronted with illness, and we receive strength in the prayers of others.

I’m not sure when it started, but my days are now filled with a silent, ongoing, conversation with God. Mainly about my children, but that also means praying for the world in general, since they live in it and will someday inherit the fruits or follies of what we do today.

If we don’t pray for peace, we leave them with the chaos of war. If we don’t petition God for an end to cancer and AIDS, Cystic Fibrosis or a host of other diseases, we bequeath these monsters to the next generations. If we don’t keep in mind that the God who gave us this beautiful world expected us to take care of it, then we have failed in our duty to respect and honor Him. Praying for clean water and pure air are not optional requests; they are imperative requirements for living on earth.

In praying for our children, or the children of others, to have the basic necessities of life, a life free of fear of going to class in safety, free of being poisoned by chemicals that we should be banning, free of hunger and poverty and prejudice, we are indeed praying for all children to have the life that God intended for them. The rest will take care of itself…

I know that this leaves out a lot of children who have no parents. I’ve recently done a story and communicated with people whose prayers were answered in ways they never expected. One of them lost a child only to gain thousands of children. Another lost her precious mother, but might be able to carry on her mother’s work in another country.  

God does have a plan. We just can’t always see it from His vantage point. Look around you, as far as the eye can see. If you happen to be on a mountaintop that view could extend for miles, but, from your backyard, it might only be for a few dozen yards. Now, think of how an astronaut views the earth from space, for thousands of miles at a glance, from one side of the horizon to the other. Now think of how God must view time and space…

The National Day of Prayer was celebrated this month. I challenge myself, and you, to make each day a day of prayer. It doesn’t have to be televised, or trumpeted so that others can hear. It just has to be sincere and heartfelt and honest. Let’s show the world the strength of prayer for the courage to step out and make changes so that our children will have an abundant, fruitful and safe world to pass on to their children.

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