Circle of Need

IMG_4159-scaled-e1702604984670-300x225.jpgIt has been an ultra-busy fall season, the details of which would take up at least a blessings blog amount of space to recount. Basically, my schedule was packed day-to-day and just about minute-to minute from the get-go in September, right through and actually beyond the end of October. I’m not sure that I had really counted the cost of two months of an agenda that afforded no wiggle room, but as my sister-in-law so aptly says, “It is what it is!” and I took a big breath and went with the flow.
The final endeavor of this two-month travel and activity merry-go-round was a trip to my daughter’s home in Texas to watch her three little ones (girl-6 and boys-4 and 2) while she went on a ministry retreat. I am more than happy to spend times like these with my wonderful grandkids, particularly because our time with them is more often than not separated by months at the least, and it is dear to me. I did not take this on wearing rose-colored glasses, however. I did have time with all the littles (7 of them) earlier in October, and I’m certainly not naïve to the energy and effort just a few hours with even one family can take.
And so, I came with a plan: I had some good ideas about where food and drinks would be consumed, how toys that continued littering the floors would find themselves in a trash bag (temporarily – honest!), and that on days when we did have to do things outside the home, we would prepare the night before with clothing and lunches at the ready. I also often do my own routines at night rather than in the morning when I’m with young grandchildren so that I’m adequately prepared for the following day. It actually was all going really well, not perfect, but manageable. That is, until Saturday! It wasn’t long after the morning dawned that things seemed to go south pretty quickly. The four-year-old, Caden, was manifesting symptoms of a fairly bad virus, and his nose was not afraid to show it. It needed constant wiping and attention. At breakfast, Mr. Two used his water bottle to flood his food tray, the floor, and himself. At least that mishap led to a cleaner area when addressed. There were fights over favorite blocks, a tussle over a Santa hat (yes, Santa hat on the first weekend of November), and clashes over other toys that all needed intervention and a level-headed perspective. Big sister engaged baby brother in a game of what I call “pedal-pusher;” each child pushes on the feet of the other in pedal fashion while holding hands. This managed to leave a bloody bottom lip on the little guy with the ensuing care needed for such an incident. We had a potty accident followed immediately by a dirty diaper, each requiring major clean-up, in more ways than one. By this time, it was way past noon. The shower I had hoped to take to allow for me to wash my hair was a pipedream, and as I considered the way things had gone so far that day, this phrase swirled in my mind, “my grandkids present a never-ending circle of need!” When we finally got to making lunch and I dropped the jelly jar on the kitchen tile sending glass fragments and jelly all throughout the floor, I realized that I had entered that circle of need myself.
Now, I can hear you saying, “Move over, Grandma! This is my story daily, and it doesn’t take until afternoon to get there.” Believe me, I am aware. I was a mom before the grand was attached. But there is some great news that we can all hold onto and that we especially think about at this time of year. When God sent his Son into the world not “to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17b, ESV), Jesus entered right into our circle of need! In fact, he came as he did so that he could relate to the needs of all humankind. As an infant, he didn’t arrive with a self-changing diapering mechanism, a continuous feeding tube, and a recurring hygiene system. No! He came with the need to have nurturing care provided by his mother and protection and provision afforded by his dad, both his earthly parent and his heavenly Father. We are left to imagine what most of his life must have been like as a boy, but considering that day and time, he was vulnerable to the same difficulties and challenges of any other child. Picture fleeing to Egypt and then the trek back; the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover traveling over rough and rugged terrain; the trials of living as a poor family in the sometimes-hostile environment of first century Israel. And then, even as a man, in spite of constant contact with his heavenly Father, he still had the need for companionship, the need for sustenance, and the need for shelter and clothing. There was nothing about Jesus’ life that was above what we face. However, he had the ability to face it in full harmony with God and with continued strength and confidence that God the Father would meet his every need. Do you believe the same?
Jesus empathizes with our needs, and he is there to meet them. This Christmas, invite him into your circle of need through prayer, taking in his Word, and spending time before him, even if you have just a few precious minutes in the day. He will enter in and bring his peace that passes all understanding along with his answers for your everyday needs as well as the bigger challenges you face.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV).
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