Recently I had the pleasure of riding to church with a good friend and his family. As I climbed into the passenger seat, his wife asked if I would excuse the untidiness of the vehicle. Before I could respond, her husband remarked, "I am hoping that Pastor Carter would understand, having children of his own." Indeed.
Nothing says, "Children in the vicinity," quite like a messy vehicle. The vast majority of us parents have experienced getting in our cars and wondering, not only where did most of the trash come from, but when did the perpetrators get the time to dump so many used wrappers, empty cups, and crumpled paper. The adeptness of children in creating chaos in short periods of time is an inexplicable wonder.
Many of us find in this a source of frustration and exasperation (count me among the many). Yet on further reflection, might I suggest to you that a junky car (besides needing a cleaning) can serve as a reminder of the graciousness of God in the blessed gift of children.
Children are one of those gifts from God that that calls for us to work hard at to really enjoy and gain its blessed benefits (marriage is another). However, as we work at procuring the benefits of these blessings, let us do so with a mind that with every moment of labor they cause, there is the reminder that God has allowed us to share in the coming of His kingdom through the replenishing of His image upon the earth. Can there be a greater privilege, messy back seats and all?
Here are a few more areas, besides a dirty car, that says God has blessed us with children for his glory and our good. Perhaps you could suggest a few more:
1. Baskets of Dirty Clothes. Ask my wife what is the bane of her existence and she will tell you the never depreciating pile of dirty clothes that must be washed. It is not her favorite pastime, but it can be a blessed reminder that children are present and God has been good in not only giving them to us, but also providing for their welfare.
2. A Sink Full of Dirty Dishes. A bachelor has nothing in the way of dirty dishes as does the home that has been graced with children. A pile of dirty dishes may have us longing for our single days, but they should also give us a boost of thanksgiving, not only for the meal that was served on those dishes, but for the loving mouths that ate the blessed meal.
3. Hectic Early Mornings. Here's a well known secret: Parenting involves time management. A parent with any number of children quickly learns that things in the morning can be unpredictable and even hectic. Subsequently, mornings can be a source of frustration if we are not proactive in realizing that the unpredictability is just another way that God teaches us to be still and know that He is God. It is another gracious opportunity to teach our children to reflect the God we worship by doing things well, even on time.
So the next time you experience a chaotic car, loads of laundry, dirty dishes, or a manic morning, thank God for His gifts that make such blessings possible. Smile, because He has smiled on you. And then...get to work.