By Janel Breitenstein
My son—my oldest—turns twelve this week. Helping him with his piano a few days ago, I played a few notes of the “New World Symphony” for him. He didn’t remember a bit of it—though we played it night after night after night for him as an infant, willing that cranky boy to go to sleep in one different house after another during a crazy season of life. We visited 13 states in his first 13 months of life. I’m pretty confident he was grumpy in all 13.
But mothering him well looked so different than what it does now. Now we’re having conversations about puberty, about ethics; he just finished reading The Hobbit, and borrows my phone to play TobyMac while he washes dishes. Each stage—crabby or not—has enveloped me in a rich joy that could only be flattened if I attempted to describe it to you.
As I prepare to celebrate another year—and really, come to grips with the fact that two-thirds of his time under our roof has already passed—I think of God’s fathering of me. I marvel at how He’s brought me beneath that gentle, wonderfully all-encompassing kingship whether I was in kindergarten, or that awkward and painful freshman year of high school, or that new, cautious bloom of my first year of marriage. His steady, wise Lordship has expanded its definition in my life year after year.
What moves me about the lyrics above is the reason for the many crowns—these glittering symbols of authority; of kingship. The author keeps calling for more crowns.
God has taken me around the globe in this kingship of his, and I’ve seen, of course, not only that resplendent authority in me and my children for season upon season, but in all the Buganda Christians I’ve met; the Acholi Christians; the Irish and Australian believers. I see that His rule extends over Ugandan politics and over American politics, no matter how baffling. I’ve witnessed His hand on the savannah, the rainforest, the blue of the Mediterranean, and a Midwestern winter.
And every place it is, it is beautiful. I long for more.
The older I grow, the more I realize that any other form of leadership simply results in fragmented, misdirected chaos. But God’s kingship, looking at chapters like Psalm 72, is described in vivid terms: The righteous flourish…He judges the people with righteousness, the poor with justice…The country prospers. This is like no king, no president, I’ve ever known; it far surpasses my motherhood. And it certainly doesn’t describe what happens when I’m in charge of my own life in any season.
Author and pastor Tim Keller writes of Psalm 72,
This healing of racial strife and the elimination of poverty and injustice are the marks of God’s kingdom, but governments, even the best ones, don’t come close. Yet when Jesus was born, gifts were offered from afar (Matthew 2:1-12), and when the church was established, the races began to be unified (Ephesians 2:11-22) and the needy helped (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-36). The kingdom of God had entered history.
I now long for this kingdom in every season of my own life—and my kids’; the more I long for this kingdom to come, this will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Crown Him with many crowns.
Today, may His sweet and healing reign continue to make its mark in, through, and around you.