A far-away friend recently wrote and asked what the Lord had been putting on my heart lately in regard to schooling and parenting. What has been on my heart for the last month is this painting by Luc Olivier Merson.
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1879, Luc Olivier Merson, French, 1846–1920
I unexpectedly ran into this painting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts after having just read about the event in the second chapter of Matthew the day before:
Now when they [the magi] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, Arise, take the child and His mother and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you; for Herod is going to seek the child to destroy Him. And he arose and took the child and His mother by night and departed into Egypt.
Having had two recent experiences of seeking the Lord only to then not be attentive to His speaking, I was immediately arrested by these verses. Despite their brevity, we know Joseph had to leave the comfort of his bed, wake his wife, and ready to leave. He listened and obeyed.
What of Mary...surely she was exhausted - fairly new surroundings, no immediate family to help out and most likely still nursing her first child. Just how aware was she of King Herod's jealousy and the danger to her child? Would she have known this was the fulfillment of Hosea's prophecy concerning Christ? After all, it was not an archangel that spoke directly to her, nor a prophetess in the temple - but her husband, waking her in the middle of the night.
We know that Mary listened and obeyed but what of her attitude? From reading Mary's poetic praise of God during her pregnancy (Luke 1:46-55) we can be sure this wife and mother was filled with the knowledge and love of God's Word. She enjoyed God, exulted in Him as her Savior, saw His faith and mercy toward others and magnified Him.
As if to underscore it all, I received a kind note from the sweet-spirited Jillian of Homeschooling 4 Christ where she had posted a jaw-dropping article regarding perception and listening. The post, entitled A Love for God? relates in a most unusual way some of the very things I have had on my heart.
Habits of prayer, learning God's word, praise, and thanksgiving as well as reverence, obedience and attention - habits I need to cultivate in myself if I am to cultivate them in my children.