Yesterday I was in my kitchen and I could hear a familiar cry. It was a battle cry. It was the same outburst of anger and tears that has been a pattern for a long time between two of my kids. I asked them to come down and we had a conversation that I could recite in my sleep if I had to and I sent them away. In my heart I felt like there was never going to be any difference, this challenge would always be there, and that my words would fall on what seemed like deaf ears. The efforts to help them felt useless.
And in that moment that I walked back to my kitchen, I remembered the words to A Mighty Fortress:
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.
Yes, my work would be in vain if I did not have the right man on my side. My strength would be in vain if it was my own fight. But I am working under a king who must and will win the battle. God will accomplish everything he plans in my home through King Jesus, not me and any perfect words I could try to come up with to win my kids’ hearts to change. I might see a lot of sin in their hearts before Jesus uses thousands of conversations in our home and from others outside our home to open their eyes. The repetition has a purpose.
Humming that hymn to encourage my heart led me to remember what Paul says:
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:14
I know Paul is addressing an audience here that is rejecting the resurrection of the dead in Christ. But, the concept still applied to my own heart that was struggling to believe in his power to raise my kid’s hearts. If Jesus didn’t have the power to raise their hearts then yes, my teaching to them is in vain, and Christian mothers around the world should be pitied and felt sorry for because this is a lot of years of effort and tears if it is for nothing. But it is the most valuable use of our time, we will not find this to be worthless when we remember Jesus himself who was raised from the dead is with us as we help our children look to him.
Reading 1 Corinthians 15 all the way down to verse 56 will give Christian mothers encouragement for their marching orders, as we are reminded none of this is in vain:
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”