Young girls carefully slip the perfectly white gloves onto their little hands, working to fit each finger inside the correct hole. Almost instantly, it seems, they are whisked away to a land of make-believe. Transported to another time and place, they begin to speak in a polite accent, go through the motions of being “proper”, and hold their tiny plastic teacup with a pinky pointing up. Time seems to slow down and manners suddenly become impeccable.
This is a sweet reminder of past social graces, now only a costume. An accessory for playing dress-up.
As I watch the transformation take place, I am keenly aware of the fact that these little beauties fell right into character with no coaching– no one demonstrating for them what the proper behavior is for wearing these satin-y white gloves. It’s as though they instinctually understood that the wearing of white gloves is something special, and that slipping your hands into them somehow changes the person that you are– whether your hands were clean beforehand or not.
Is it a wonder that we love to slip on a glove that is smooth and silky and perfectly white? A history that dates back to early antiquity, white gloves were worn by priests to cover their dirty hands to represent purity and cleanliness.
And somehow it is fitting.
These precious girls don’t even understand yet some of the evil that exists. Their innocence clashes against the ugliness in our world. As I observe their play, I am taken back to a simpler time of pretend and make-believe, my heart full as I think about the changes that have occurred since I was the little girl wearing white gloves. I can easily become anxious and fear for their future. My greatest prayer is not just that God would protect them–but that they would live a life of faith and godliness, learning to trust and to follow Jesus, despite what is going on in the world around them. This Nana’s heart longs to see them live for God in a world that seems to be walking farther and farther from Him.
“May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints. Amen.” I Thessalonians 3:13
In my journey through the Bible, I Thessalonians has been a surprising encouragement to me as I think of what the future will bring for my children and grandchildren. What will their world look like? What struggles will they face? How difficult will it be for those who follow Christ?
God used this book to gently remind me that I should be more concerned about what their heart will look like than the type of world they will live in. Every generation is given an opportunity for good or for evil. The path that we choose will lead us to one or the other. Following God is so much more than following rules. Over and over in the Bible we see that God’s desire is that we obey out of our love for Him, just as a child would love and want to please their earthy father.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, he shares the prayer on his heart for a group of new believers who were learning to balance what they knew about God, or theology, and the right actions that were a result of that knowledge. His encouragement to them was to “pursue what is good for one another and for all” (5:15) and continues with a list of what they would need in the pursuit:
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Don’t stifle the Spirit.
Don’t despise prophecies,
but test all things.
Hold on to what is good.
Stay away from every form of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
What a great reminder for us as we pray–and an encouragement for us to persevere in prayer. While I need this for my own spiritual growth, I can also pray for those precious littles, that they would:
1. Experience the joy that comes from knowing the Lord.
2. Have grateful hearts, trusting that God is in control.
3. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
4. Listen and discern what is from the Lord.
5. Treasure what is good.
6. Stay away from evil.
God’s Word is full of promise. Little white gloves could never cover the filth of our sin, but Jesus’ blood–His sacrificial death paid the penalty for our sin and washes us “white as snow”! Following Him means that we no longer are a slave to fear–fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the future. When we place our FAITH and trust in Him, we become precious in His sight and He alone can sanctify us and make us whole.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Feel free to copy the image and use it for a screen saver or just print it out to help you remember it.
Do you use scripture to pray for your children? If so, here’s another post you might enjoy: