The kitchen chair is apparently the most dangerous place on earth for the Baker children. The following scene plays out almost every day. All is quiet. The children are coloring calmly at the kitchen table. Or eating. Or watching a DVD. It doesn’t really matter, frankly. Lulled to distraction by this false sense of security, I make a phone call or try to read. Suddenly … screech … THWUMP! And crying. Lots and lots of crying.
“Son,” I inquire, “How did you fall off the chair?” “I don’t know, Dad, “ he stutters through the sobbing, “I just did!” You know, it’s a genuine miracle that we haven’t yet made a trip to the emergency room with one of our children. But, it’s only a matter of time. And I’m oh so excited to explain to the attending physician, “Well, you see, he got that compound skull fracture because he fell off the kitchen chair.”
Some of our readers are surely saying, “Cherish these days! They’ll be gone before you know it.” And I believe you. I want to cherish these days of 5, 3, and 1 year olds. In my defense … when a young father considers the complexities of life, the kitchen chair doesn’t come immediately to mind.
So, if you’re like me, and you’re struggling to “cherish these days” of toddler-dom, let’s encourage one another with Psalm 127. Now, before you read any more of my words, read Psalm 127. Just click here for an online version.
Done reading? Excellent. Okay, I realize that Psalm 127 is the theological battleground for family planning debates a-plenty. And I don’t intend to engage in any of those debates today because this Psalm is immensely helpful even in its narrowest possible application. In Psalm 127 we find resolution, conviction, and hope for believing parents just trying to get their kids to sit on a chair without killing themselves.
Solomon wrote the hymn as a “Song of Ascents,” which was a little chorus meant for the Israelites to sing as they traveled up to Jerusalem for one of the three annual pilgrimages (see Deut. 16:16). We have to ask ourselves — Why would Solomon want Hebrew families to sing these words on their way to worship? Because they needed to recite to themselves the reason for the journey in the first place. They wanted to honor the Lord, to have His blessing, and to pass along their faith to their children.
And they needed the reminder, I’m sure. They left their lives behind: building projects went unfinished, cities unguarded, crops unattended. Sure, each village could have left a small security team to keep an eye on things, but simply taking that journey three times a year created anxiety, insecurity, and a halt to every business affair. Now remember this – God built these loose-ends into their worship lives as a standing monument to their trust in His good and sovereign care.
Furthermore, if travelling with family is taxing nowadays, imagine the stress, the overflowing diaper bags, and the cranky children back then. “Are we there yet?” “No, son, just two more days.” In fact, Luke 2:42ff shines a little light on the nature of these journeys — Do you think Jesus was the first twelve-year-old misplaced by his Hebrew parents? Hardly.
The rationale for deliberately inconvenient worship is at least partly why Solomon wanted Hebrew people to sing these words as they ascended. Yes, we’re leaving our lives behind and entrusting our security to the Lord. Yes, travelling with these children is hard. But they’re precisely the reason we’re doing this. They’re our legacies and our future security. But most importantly, these little ones are weapons that extend our fighting capacities to the greatest possible distances. A sword goes only as far as we can reach; the arrows we let fly.
Now, I want to make this as personal as possible because God has directed each of us differently in the way we manage our households. I can wallow in discouraged frustration at the day-to-day grind of raising children; it’s easy to “eat the bread of anxious toil,” as Solomon puts it. It’s work to raise my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
But God never promises that these tasks will yield immediate fruit, that parenting will get easier, or my life more comfortable. God loves me too much to give me the luxury of walking by sight. So, if you’re like me and are looking for a little Bible encouragement and resolution in your parenting, may this conviction settle deep in our souls: our children are a grace; they’re an enduring legacy, a strong security, and a powerful weapon of warfare in God’s Kingdom.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my children are sitting down for some quiet coloring. They’re in grave danger.