Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Not OURS, but GOD'S

"Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine." - Exodus 13:2

I read this verse yesterday and it reminded me of when Eric and I gave our firstborn to the Lord. We knew Michael was a boy before he was born and decided to raise him with the attributes of a preacher, knowing that if he has these character qualities (found in I Timothy 3), he will be a strong, godly man, whether or not he is a preacher.

I re-read I Timothy 3 yesterday after reading in Exodus. I realized how much more difficult it seems to be NOW to actually try to instill these character qualities into our son than it was when we gave him to God before he was born. Qualities such as soberness, vigilant, not covetous, etc. I struggle with these qualities myself - good thing women can't be preachers! It is one thing to say we are going to sanctify our firstborn for the Lord - another to do it!

Ever since Michael was born, the Lord has reminded us of whose child he really is. Michael is named for Eric's brother who died at 5 years old - reminding us that his life is but a vapor. Our son has a disorder that can result in a number of physical disabilities - another reminder that he is in God's hand.

This is not to say that God is an over-bearing God, constantly pounding us over the head to remind us that He is in control. It is to say that we, as parents, never know how long we have our children or what will happen to them throughout the course of their life. For Michael, there is physical suffering. That is not something we would choose, but knowing that this is part of God's plan and remembering that we've set him aside for God's purpose makes it easier to go through.

Ever since Michael was little, his daddy has told him that he is not our Michael but GOD'S Michael. Though we are still working on strong character qualities, this has taken root. Now that he has his challenges, he is willing to accept it as God's will for his life. He also sees the blessings God gives him as gifts.

"Sanctify unto me...the firstborn." With God's grace, we will continue to do this with our son. It is our responsibility to raise him and train him in God's word. It is for God to use him as He sees fit.

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