As any father knows, babies are very dependent when they’re born; and that dependency continues for many years.
Being a father isn’t something to be taken lightly; there’s a lot of “on-the-job” learning involved. Over the years, we’ve learned a new ways to communicate with our children; learned how to use increasingly sophisticated tools to fix just about anything they broke; and we’ve even developed remarkable abilities to be innovative on vacation trips, sports events, and their interpersonal relationships, to name a few.
But we’ve also had our share of “oops-that-didn’t work” moments. Maybe we were too loud when things didn’t quite go as we expected, or we didn’t display the best example of how to act. In many instances we grew and matured while “in flight.”
For me it’s important to look to God’s word to see the perfect example of what a father should be and to encourage me to work towards being more like my heavenly Father. Here’s a few Scripture quotes that need no explanation – just doing.
Proverbs 14:26 - Whoever reveres the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Ephesians 5:25-37 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 6:4 - Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We should strive to do our best to live out God’s example of a father: loving, compassionate, caring and forgiving. We can learn experientially from our heavenly Father. He loves dads and wants to have a relationship with us. If we let Him, He can be the most loving and caring father we could hope for. The perfect role-model.
I was walking in my backyard the other week and noticed that one of my trees hadn’t started to bud like the others. It still had many dark brown leaves attached to its branches. In fact, those leaves had been there all winter! True, we haven’t had much snow to knock them down and maybe it hasn’t been cold enough to make them brittle.
But then a few days of high winds swept them off the branches. A couple of days ago with the incoming warm weather I noticed the tree was sprouting buds, and today I started to see a small blossom.
It made me wonder - how much of our spiritual growth relies on getting rid of what no longer serves us. What do we need to release so that we can flourish in the next season? What if we were to prune all the preconceived notions of who we are? All the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the the future. All of the outside influences telling us how bad things are. Maybe we need to let go of our pride, our ego, or the baggage we’ve been carrying for so long. What kind of life could we usher in, if we were to make room for growth?
I’m reminded of Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. (Isaiah 11:3) NKJV
We’ve all heard the phrase: “You can't judge a book by its cover.” It basically means that we should not judge someone by what they look like or what they seem like or what they say, at first glance. As Christians, we may say that we don't believe in judging a book by the cover, but research shows that we do, over and over again.
Isaiah 3 begins to outline how Jesus will rule. It’s a way that should be a little intimidating to us because he says that Jesus will not judge what He sees and what He hears simply by the outward actions and appearances but that He will judge righteously. He will judge faithfully. He will see the motivations of the heart, the actual actions of a man or woman and that He’ll judge with equity.
May we not judge circumstances or people only by what our eyes see, nor make decisions only by what we hear. Often, things are happening below the surface of a person or situation - and without ALL the information, we can't possibly judge things completely accurately. When a seed is planted, things begin changing and happening with that seed long before anything rises above the surface of the ground. It is the same with most people and situations things begin shifting and happening in our hearts long before there is outward evidence.
Our prayer should be: Give us the faith, Lord, to trust the work that You are doing in each of us, and with those we are praying for - even when - from the outside, nothing looks different. We will NOT judge by what we see, nor will we decide on things based solely on what we hear! We will continue to pray in great FAITH that you are in control of every situation! In Jesus's name, amen.