“Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without God’s unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye.” - 2 Corinthians 4:16b-18a (MSG)
When my daughter was younger, we’d pare down her toybox when it got full. On one such day, the “keep” pile grew faster than the “discard” pile. I picked up an off-looking toy on the “keep” pile. “Honey, why are you keeping this? It’s broken.” She took the toy back and said, “It’s not broken. It’s just bent. See?” She tossed it back on the “keep” pile and continued saving as many toys as possible.
Like the Corinthians, we’re quick to declare things as broken and ready to discard. We parents are prone to seeing the growing chasm between the day-to-day chaos surrounding us and the perfect parents we can never actually be. The urgency and intensity of life’s stressors can diminish our capacity to see God’s unfolding grace within us and around us.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians coincides so well with that serendipitous toybox lesson: Even though things look as though they’re falling apart on the outside, dear parent, God is making new life on the inside. You’re not broken, just bent. See?!
Thank you, God, for seeing us deeply enough to know we’re not broken, but sometimes bent. Help me do the same for my beloveds … and for myself!
Phiwa S. Langeni contributed this devotional to Hard and Holy: Devotions for Parenting, a collection of devotionals for the spiritual practice of raising, teaching, learning from, delighting in, and cleaning up after children. Order Hard and Holy today.