Vale of TearsChanging Roles
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
1 Kings 19:3
One moment Elijah was a prophet to the nation; the next an outlaw on the run for his life. It takes grace and fortitude to adjust to such immense changes. If you find yourself a leader one moment and a nobody the next, (as I did back in 1985) – or a wife or husband one moment, and a “single” again the next, then, although it may sound attractive to rush out to find some suitable role or vision to latch onto, it may actually not be the wisest move.
After all, many of our problems may have stemmed from being “vision-centred” rather than Christ-focused in the first place – in which case the Lord will be most interested in bringing our souls back into balance. Taking time out to be with Him is essential, therefore, for our long-term well-being.
Many of us also experience a profound sense of anticlimax when we reach the goals we have worked so long and hard to achieve. Suddenly we are left wondering what it is we should be aiming for next.
It is much the same for the hefty percentage of parents who experience the pangs of “empty nest syndrome.” They have spent so many years investing time and energy – along with other stuff that having kids entails – but what comes next when they have finally left home?
Rather than remaining devastated because we have “lost” our child, we will find it easier if we can look on this as a jumping off point for ourselves as well as for them. In fits and starts, and with many a missed flap of their wings, our sons and daughters have long been en route to becoming fully fledged adults in their own right. Is this not what we have been working and praying towards?
To be sure, they may still be far from fully safe and stable, but the whole nature of our relationship with them has been changing throughout their growing years. All roles and relationships are loaned to us in life, and when their season is complete, we must hand them back. It does not mean that we have suddenly ceased to be their parents.
If you are blessed to still have a partner, this is time given back to rediscover that sense of purpose and “chemistry” you once shared as a couple before you had children, but which may have become somewhat stale with the passing of years.
If the opportunity is there, start now, before the children have left. There is no surer way to avoid the fate so many fall prey to in mid-life, who do little more than co-exist together.
Reflect and Pray
Although many untowards events happen in the course of our life, the Lord is so skilful at re-stranding the threads that, in one sense, there can never be a “second-best.” He puts every that we go through to good use, so long as we give Him all the pieces – including every trace of resentfulness, bitterness and regret.
Lord, You know why this particular window has closed.
May no hurt or disappointment
prevent me from embarking on new initiatives,
no weariness or shock keep me from starting out again.
In the name of the One Who goes ahead
to open brand new doors for us, Amen.