Tuesday, January 5, 2016
We long for the day to become parents - and then we do.
We long for the day the baby walks - and then they do.
We long for the day they talk - and then they do!!
We long for the day they start school - and then they do.
We long for the day they can drive - and then they do.
We long for the day they graduate - and then they do.
We send them off to college to grow up - and then they do.
But along the way, we are constantly teaching them. We are instructing them as they grow. We tell them No, Good job, this way not that way. We soothe their hurts when someone is mean to them at school. We applaud them when they do a good deed. We are there for their highs and there for their lows...We teach them respect. What it means to respect us, their teachers, other people. Treat others like you would like to be treated. You never know what someone is going through to make them act the way they do so treat them with respect. Its why when I go out in public I talk to the people serving me. My kids have seen it. At times it bothered them, but they saw me treating others with dignity and respect. Am I always perfect at that task? No. But I try.
Gods word says in Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
So what do we do when we feel we've missed the mark? What do we do when respect is no longer being shown? Do we turn our backs on them? Do we let them go to learn hard lessons? Do we, in this age of entitlement, continue to meet their needs without any lessons? Its a hard place to be and its a heartbreaking place to be. Letting your kids go so they can make their own mistakes.
It brings to mind the story of the prodigal son. Many people think the story is about the son, but I think its about the Father. The son doesn't want to live by the rules anymore. He wants to go out and make his own life, do his own thing. He asks for his college fund up front - no strings attached. The Father hands it over and watches his son walk away - knowing he will make mistakes that will hurt him. But, the FATHER waits patiently at home. Praying every day for his son. He prays for protection, for wisdom. He prays he comes to his senses and comes home. One day the Father's prayers are answered. What the Father does next sets the tone for the reunion. Did the Father say "I told you so."? Did he tell his son he wasn't welcome at home anymore? No, the Father saw his son from a distance and RAN to him. Arms wide open. Love overflowing because his son who was dead was now alive. Not physically dead - but dead in his sin.
God lovingly lets us make our own choices. Its called free will. We are disrespectful. We are hateful to people. We give ultimatums and say NEVER, not realizing that NEVER is a really long time. But God lovingly waits for us - He seeks out our hearts and waits patiently for our return. I'm a parent. I will do the same. I will wait for the lessons to sink in and I will be here with open arms if and when my children think they know it all like we often tell God that we do. "I can handle it God. I don't need you anymore". All God can do is step back and wait.
The prodigal son story is not about one man and his father. Its about all of us. At one point in our lives or another, we are Prodigals. We all think we have it figured out. We disrespect the very people who gave their lives for us. But the Father will always be there with arms wide open, running to meet us where we are. If you are a parent, you will understand that just like God, we too will at one time or another have a prodigal child. Our lesson, like the lessons we have taught them, is in this story. The Fathers story.