Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

02 August 2009

Proverbs 14:26

I have recently finished reading through Proverbs. In amongst the multitudes of proverbs recorded within its 31 chapters, three stood out especially. The first one was Proverbs 14:26.

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress,
and for his children it will be a refuge.

This is
wonderful,
magnificent,
inspiring,
scary,
overwhelming
and then wonderful all over again.

What an amazing thing to live life with confidence and hope as though within the protection of a secure fortress because we fear* the LORD. And even more beautiful that we provide a refuge for our children because of our strong confidence** in the Lord.

I saved writing about this proverb until now. This weekend marks the first anniversary of Jesus taking a friend of mine home. Her death, from a brain aneurysm at age 49, was completely unexpected. I hadn't seen a lot of her in recent years as she lived with her family on a farm in the town of my second teaching posting. But during that era of my life I passed many happy hours in her home and in her company.

I remember at the time often thinking what a great wife and mother she was. It is significant that I should have noticed this about her because at the time I was in my early twenties, there were no prospects of marriage (and therefore children) for me, I had only been a Christian a very few years and I had done very little thinking about the role of wife and mother. And yet even though these things were not even remotely on my radar, she really stood out spectacularly as a beautiful wife and mother.

At one point during her funeral their minister looked squarely at her three children (in their mid and late teens and one in her early twenties) and said words to the effect of , "In the midst of your immense sorrow, don't ever be tempted to question God's goodness in this." And then he said it again. Kindly and gently but with conviction. And those three dear children all nodded. Not a polite nod to appease the minister. A nod that said with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength that they trusted that this dreadful tragedy in their lives was in God's control. They were not angry or bitter towards God.

Their parents fear/ed the Lord and provided their children with a secure fortress which truly was their refuge in the hour of their greatest need.

How I praised God and continue to do so for this beautiful couple, one here on earth and one with her heavenly Father, who have modelled to me Proverbs 14:26 – whose model made an impact upon me even before I was thinking about such things for my own life. And how I pray that our children will grow up just as securely anchored in their knowledge and love of God – that they will hold fast in the Lord no matter what storms may come upon them.

Her death is still a shock in many ways but God clearly called her home. In His eyes her work was done.

One of the other proverbs that stood out for me during this recent read through was Proverbs 19:21.

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

That too seems appropriate for me this weekend. I'll save the other one for another time.

* Go here for a really good definition of "fear of the Lord" by Jean Williams.
** Go
here to read a great article about Proverbs 14:26 by John Piper.

1 comment:

Helen said...

I remember your friend passing away. Seems like longer than a year ago. She would be proud of what a wonderful mother and wife and friend you are. x