Philippians 4:8- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The Lord has brought this familiar verse before me multiple times, in different settings, over the last few months. It has been His way of continuing to make a point for me. Each time it appears, whether in something I am reading, in a lesson or presentation, it is a “poke”, a “pay attention”, and a “think again”. A reminder, if you will.
This last year has been a year of great changes in our lives. They included returning to work full time, changing churches, the passing away of a loved one, and sending our daughter off to North Africa; just to name a few of them. The culmination of most of these changes came when our daughter left for the mission field.
To be honest, the emotions that arrived after she left blindsided me. We have loved, supported, and been excited about missionaries our whole married life. We were honored, awed, amazed and thrilled that God would use our children as they yielded to Him to be missionaries. I traveled some with my daughter on the deputation trail and I was asked over and over about our feelings about her going to North Africa. Wouldn’t we miss her too much? “We are honored and thrilled that she has chosen to go and today’s technology makes it so much easier. Yes we will miss her, but it won’t be so bad as we can keep in touch pretty easily.” We sent her off with tears, joy, excitement, and peace with where she was going.
Fast forward a few days. Our son and his family leave for a two month deputation trip. All the children are gone. The granddaughter is gone (after all, we know who is the most important here, right?). The quiet descends. There are internet connection issues at our daughter’s home in North Africa so we cannot easily get in touch with her. Reality sets in. This is much harder than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I am at peace that she is where she is supposed to be. However, empty nest syndrome hits with a vengeance.
Stay busy I hear. Well, I am very busy already. Check. Maybe it helped a bit, although it didn’t seem to. This, for me, was a mind game.
Enter this verse from Philippians. It started showing up here and there. So I said, “Self, do what this verse says.” So what is lovely? Flowers are lovely. What is honest? My dad is honest. What is of good report (especially for women)? Chocolate. Hmmmm….this is not working quite like I think it’s supposed to. Just forget it, it is not helping.
The verse appears again in some context or other. With gentleness, compassion, and mercy God was nudging me…..think harder on this. Meditate on it. Ok FINE, I sarcastically think, I will do that, even though it hadn’t seemed to help me very much so far. However, I did put forth the effort, albeit reluctantly. Finally it hit me (I am a little slow sometimes). Think about it. Ultimately what is the most true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report?
Does He have virtue and is there any praise there? I do believe that would be a yes. So what do I need to think on most of all and above all? Jesus Christ and all that He is. Now THAT works. After all, He is most worthy above all we can ever understand. He is true. He is honest. He is just. He is pure. He is lovely. He is of good report.
Did I miss my daughter less? Nope. But, there is an underlying peace in that battlefield of my mind.
Isaiah 26:3 – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Thinking on Him,