My mother used to say, “We must need it or we wouldn’t be getting it.” She usually meant this about the weather, but not always. I am grateful for her acceptance of life; it helps me be more submissive to God, more able to accept the events of life.
It wasn’t that she never questioned anything. When raising us, she worried if we seemed to go astray and didn’t understand some of our interests and passions. She was like the mother of Jesus in that way. When their family travelled to Jerusalem with a group, Jesus stayed behind. On the way home, she supposed twelve-year-old Jesus was with the group, but when she noticed He was missing . . .
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:46–52)
Many thoughts run through my head as I reflect on this passage. Chambers uses it to question his readers about identifying with Jesus and ‘living in our Father’s house,’ doing His business and living in union with Him in all the circumstances of life. This means having an attitude that no matter what happens, God is using it to shape my life — if I didn’t need it, it would not be happening.
From these verses, I’m thinking about Mary’s perspective of what happened. At times, my children seem to be lost, not with the rest of us. While we have never found them in the same place Mary and Joseph found Jesus, I do hear the Lord saying to me, “Don’t you know that they must be in this place? Don’t you understand that I am fulfilling my purpose for their lives?”
Chambers says, “Are you so identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that all things come from His hands? Is the Eternal Child in you living in the Father’s house? Are the graces of His ministering life working out through you in your home, in your business, in your domestic circle? Have you been wondering why you are going through the things you are?”
Of course I wonder. Yet His Word and my mother’s words echo in my heart. I must need this or it would not be happening. Because of the events in the lives of my children, my faith is deeper, my relationship with Jesus is more moment by moment. I have a greater understanding of His role as my Father. I relate to the experiences of Jesus as He patiently stands by me in my choices and experiments, my trust and my lack of trust. I know His heart for the faithful and the wayward and richly understand His great love.
I don’t know what Mary learned about God because her Son stayed behind, other than she treasured the experience in her heart and watched her child grow in wisdom as well as stature, favored with God and other people. God knows what is going on in my life, but more than that, because He is sovereign I know that He would not allow me to experience these things unless I needed them. Like Mary, my life is in His capable hands.