The pendulum is swinging
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he
delighteth in his way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down: for the
Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young and now am old; yet have
I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread... " Psalm 37:23-25
There's something special about lineage...about legacy...about
family! It's not just the history, it's the future. I've seen enough in my
short time to know that God is interested in His family...and displays
His love in blessing generation after generation who put their trust in Him.
I used to listen to 'more senior people' discussing the
pace of life, "My doesn't time fly! Just you wait young man. You'll soon
be where we are, looking back in amazement..."
Suddenly, I'm the father of four children...I have no
credentials for what must be both a man's toughest, and most rewarding
assignment in life. Generally speaking, the only training opportunity we get for
this dynamic leadership role is via the school of experience! Immediately we can
see the pitfalls there. The effectiveness of our qualifications will be seen in
the trophy cabinet of our individual families.
From the time I was young and became aware of my
surroundings I would quietly watch my father, learning patterns and values
and a 'style' which I would eventually take on, and become! Other 'Dads'
contributed unknowingly as I would observe and classify them - 'the good, the
bad and the ugly'.
God chose to illustrate His love for His creation (you and I
included) through a powerful picture of a Father and His children. This picture
prompts one of two responses:
Some people are very happy and secure in the warmth of this
Fatherly relationship...a continuance of a lovely pattern of safety and security...
For others the picture is not pleasant at all! It causes real
discomfort. Trying to relate to a Heavenly parent, while releasing the pain of a
very real struggle with earthly parents can be very difficult.
I remember sitting in a room of bible college students. Our
guest speaker began to share with us a picture of the 'Father heart' of God.
A simple message, but with a profound effect. That the great God of the
universe, the Creator, had ordained this type of expression, a close
relationship -– not as the Untouchable Dictator, but as a knowing Father
-– to His children. This picture blesses some and revolts others.
I had a good dad. For me learning the ropes wasn't so
difficult. The tough part came later when the 'theory was put to the test'
with real life children of my own, each with individual characters - and their
own unique emotional needs. Most fascinating for me have been times when I find
myself, exhausted from the days labours, bending down to pick up my
children, putting them in the car, and driving them home. My wife and I unload
them, put their crying, shivering frames into the shower, and then settle them
into their beds for (hopefully) a good nights sleep. Oh yes, if they fail to
have a good nights sleep guess who is required to 'identify and meet their
needs'? You see, all of a sudden "I" am the leader of this tribe!
The one who apparently has the correct answers to the difficult questions, the
one who possesses the love which knows no bounds, the provider of security and
comfort -– who makes everything work out right -– even chasing away the terror
of the night from wide staring eyes. It seems like kind of a lot of
responsibility for a guy who only a short time ago was himself being carried,
bundled up in a sleeping bag to the car...
My senior friends were right...I'm now in the thick of it
-– and my allotted time is flying past very quickly! Two of my babies are now
entering their teenage years...
James Dobson describes a parent, about to pull out of the
driveway with a child in the passenger seat. "Buckle up dear -– put on that
seat belt...". A short fifty years or so later, the roles are reversed and the
child, now grown, sits in the drivers seat saying to the elderly person
sitting in the passengers seat "buckle up dear -– put on your seat belt"...
Thank God He knows our frame and remembers that we are finite
(dust). Thank God He has left us His Word which guides us and directs us in the
right way! A rule book? No! A manual of restrictions and red tape? No! It's
the family tree, the family code of ethics and the Family Mission statement,
written by a loving, caring Father! Ephesians 3:14-21 outlines the beautiful
picture of 'our family'... Did you know that each of us has an 'inner
man'? The outer man, seen by all onlookers, may seem very together,
(The Psalmist hints at this part of our character in Psalm 39:6 "Surely, every
man walks in a vain show") but the inner man is in desperate need of the love
and acceptance of the Father.
In Acts 17:22, Paul challenges a group of Athenians "...I
perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by and
beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription: To the unknown
God. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you". Listen to
the prayers of those around you. Listen to your own prayers! It is a struggle
for many to address God as 'Father'. We use non-emotive terms and titles
like Almighty God...Creator...Mighty One or spiritual terms like Holy Spirit...Jesus...anything
but Father. Perhaps it is accidental, because of ignorance that we give God all
sorts of titles except the one He ordained. Jesus came to reveal the Father to a
world which needs to get to know its 'Dad'. Now there's a challenge!
Jesus said to the disciples "When you pray...say 'Our