The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
Psalms 103:13 NLT
This past Sunday was Father’s Day and my wife, my daughter and I celebrated at home and at church together as a family. Since my parents have moved 4 hours away to the beach, and since both of my grand fathers have passed, and since my inlaws didn’t do the normal Saturday get together with all their kids and grands – it has been a bit different this year. There seems to be “a new normal” in much of our lives these days as we adjust to post-pandemic changes and losses of loved ones.
This is a sweet time with my daughter, as she grows into a pre-teen and still enjoys time with us — even as she starts paying more attention to the things that young people eventually are more interested in. It is wonderful that our relationship is so close and healthy that I can be tender and compassionate with her and that I don’t have to breach the peace in order to insure her attention. So I spend these years trying to lay the ground work about important topics that will come later in her life. We speak together now, so that hopefully I have to tell a little less later on. She has many lessons to learn in life and I tell her that I’ll still respect her whether she chooses the hard way of learning lessons on her own or the wise way of learning from our advice and God’s Word.
The Lord has taught me that being a good father is about the character and fruit that our children’s lives will produce in this world, and being engaged enough in their lives to apply the right nutrients to their soil. If she is flourishing, she may just need acknowledgement of her progress today and preparation for tomorrow as a daily treatment to basically check for weeds and enjoy her beautiful growth. If life’s circumstances are testing her — weeds, bugs, and sickness are starting to wear her down — encouragement, assistance, and commitment to work through it together is helpful. And in seasons where those things have hurt her growth, correction is necessary — even pruning things away from her life that are dangerous might be necessary. All of these things look very different, but when applied in the right timing they are all loving and helpful.
It is the same with the Lord’s love for us. If we have a healthy respect and fear of God, we can trust that His Word is not a burdensome set of rules to measure and judge ourselves and others — but is tender and compassionate and wise advise to help us live an abundant life, serve others well, and reveal God’s presence to an otherwise unaware world.
Our Father has made us in His image and has offered wisdom and love to lead us through today better prepared — if we will listen, if we will truly hear, if we will believe, if we will value His Word, and if we will follow in His Way.
And each of us will choose…
Thank you for being a great Father, Lord. Help us to be wise children and not so foolish as we have been in the past. And help us to share your wisdom not just in our words, but what we teach those around us in how we live. Let our lives be a living testimony that you are with us, and that it is you alive in us that proves The Way so that they too might walk with You. Amen.