Eric bought me the funnest gift while he was in Utah two weeks ago — an apron. But not just any apron — it’s a flirty apron. It’s awesome! I have become quite the apron housewife (keeps me from changing a few times a day while cleaning the kitchen, cooking, feeding a baby, etc.) This is one apron really fun to wear.
And while wearing my flirty brown-and-green striped and polka-dotted apron last week, I thought about how God has flirted with me this year…
For about the past eight years or so, I have had the practice of asking the Lord in early January to give me a verse for the coming year. It has been interesting how God has led me to these various verses, as well as the meaning they have come to hold even though in January they might not originally felt personal.
This year, it was on our return flight from Hawaii to Japan, anticipating the sudden and imminent arrival of our fourth child, that God gave me the verses for this year:
O Lord, be gracious to us, we wait for you.
Be our strong arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble…
He will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure. (Isaiah 33: 2, 6)
The idea that has grabbed my heart in particular these past few months is the second line: “Be our strong arm every morning.” The idea of God being my arm; or His arm strengthening mine, has touched me deeply. God has known just how to woo me! Since adding a fourth baby to our family, I have found great comfort in the very real prayer: “O God! Please! Right now — be my strong arm. I am tired and need your strength.” I have felt very inconsistent in some ways as a parent and wife; I love it that when I allow God to be my strong arm, He brings a stability not to be found in myself. And how many times in recent days have I called out for His wisdom and knowledge when I have had zero of my own to offer.
In a devotional one morning, I read a verse I have never noticed before:
…Yet his [Joseph’s] bow remained taut, and his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Genesis 44:22)
Spurgeon (one of my favorites!) writes:
That strength which God gives to his Josephs is a real strength; it is not a boasted valour, a fiction, a thing which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true — a divine strength. Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God gives him aid…. God is represented as putting his hands on Joseph’s hands, placing his arms on Joseph’s arms. Like as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear him. He puts his arms upon them. Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from his throne and lays his hand upon the child’s hand, stretching his arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be strong…
There is nothing as attractive to me this year as the strong arm of God. Jesus placing his strong arms atop my weak ones! Despite the urge sometimes to be: the mom with all the boo-boo fixes (reality #1: I get woozy at the sight of blood!) , the missionary with all the answers (reality #2: I’ve discovered that I’m not very good at discipleship and coming up with right answers!); the Sue who used to like to hear people say, “How does she do it all?” (reality #3 – what planet was I on?) — I do a lot better when I am real about my weaknesses and together we can focus on what God is doing in our midst. Adopting our fourth child has more than convinced both Eric and me that we are weak vessels — even moreso when our lives are full! — and continually need the real strength given to Joseph and each of us who allows the Omnipotent to lay His arms on ours.
That’s flirty theology.