It happened again. . .
A few months ago I woke up to that old Sunday School chorus—“Wide, Wide as the Ocean.” This time it was the wonderful words and beautiful old melody of a song that was rolling around in my inner music-chamber; it was the third verse of an old hymn which I couldn’t remember singing or even humming for donkey’s years: “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven.” Tune: Lauda Anima; Words: Henry Francis Lyte
No one who sings this hymn—even with today’s contemporary and fast-paced musical expression—can ignore the wonder of the words and the beauty of the melody. The first two verses are full of praise to God, inviting the worshiper to stand in awe of this amazing Person.
All well and good; but it was verse three that I was internally singing and enjoying, and it was about the Father-likeness of God. For some, this analogy to their own father-experience may be hard to swallow. Why? Because many fathers, instead of being protective and showing loving-kindness to their children, have projected just the opposite sort of behavior, that is horrendous and hideous and un-father-like. For some, at the mention of the word ‘father,’ memories, like maggots, can come crawling out of their ‘Secret & Hurtful Rubbish Bin,’ where, over the years, those recollections have festered and putrefied.
Father-like he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows.
In his hand he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Widely yet his mercy flows!
I started thinking about my own Dad, in heaven now for many years. A faithful lifetime missionary, he ‘spared us’ his family, from physical harm. But there were limits to his ‘tending’ us emotionally ‘like a shepherd with his lambs,’ and I’ve seen the results of that shortcoming in my siblings and me.
Did he really know our 'feeble frame' and 'gently bear' us? It just didn’t seem to be in him, though I remember once when I was a teenager, he attempted to kiss me and to my own shame, I drew back embarrassed from that ‘tended’ gesture.
I was positively sure that I had some family photos packed away somewhere, and was certain that in at least one of them I would be perched on Dad’s knee. Rummaging around in an old storage box, I found not just one, but three photos of the six of us. On each one, there I was, the youngest, solemnly sitting on my mother’s knee, not Dad’s! I was a bit crushed.
To a large extent, our own natural Dads color our concept of God the Father—and what He is like. Most often, father-likeness is a hand-me-down, generation to generation. In reality, my Dad was like most dads of his era, and of his national culture and social upbringing. His priorities in life seem to have been: God—Ministry—Family, in that order.
Even though many have had cruel and abusive and uncaring fathers, it is vital that we pay attention to Number Five of the Ten Commandments (as well as all the others!)
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. [Ex 20:12]
You may have had a monster for a father, but remember it is he who has given you life itself, and it is that office (or that position), that requires honor—not the horrific treatment you may have received.
The only way to get out from under the awful and hideous un-father-like atrocities that may have maimed and scarred you, is to forgive—plain and simple. Yet that can be a great leap of faith. For your own well-being, take that leap!
A law that permits abortion, presupposes that life somehow gains value as it matures. But this leaves open the question, “Does life lose value as it ages?”
A child’s mind is like a bank. Whatever you deposit in it, you’ll get back in ten years—with interest.
One thing that Scripture does not say is, “understand one another.” When we do, we tend to “judge one another,” and we’re not to do that.
Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you.
Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you. Anonymous
December and January were two very difficult transitioning months. Peter had double hernia surgery on December 2nd which was our 56th wedding anniversary. Then on the 21st a huge hematoma developed requiring more surgery. He got out of hospital Christmas day, and we were to leave for Hawaii on the 31st to celebrate our oldest granddaughter Leilani’s wedding, when on the 29th I noticed Peter’s incision was seeping.
Off we went to Emergency where the doctor touched the incision and it burst open with pus and blood, so of course he was re-admitted to hospital right away and again had to have surgery. I wept for five weeks off and on, sometimes just by his bedside. Yes, some was disappointment but I knew it was something deeper than that. Peter was very thin and following the third operation, they had to put a wound vac in to drain the poison so it would heal from the inside out.
Through all this, I sensed the Lord saying, “You are weeping for the fathers and grandfathers to be raised up to be strong and courageous, to take their place with love, truth and humility, examples for the younger generation. There is wounding that needs to be healed from the inside out. Infection from disappointment, offences, words spoken that aren’t truth.”
We, as grandparents don’t have to ‘do,' but just 'be.' When we went to the doctor, he said, “Well you know, he is 82." That’s what the world says, but not what God says. God says, “Rise up, your days aren’t over yet, I need you. Be led by My Spirit, live by My Spirit, and the joy of he Lord will be your strength. Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles."
Many of us are going through days of trial, and we need each other during these times. Our daughter Michelle, who lives in Australia, came to be with us right after the wedding, and stayed a week. Then Julie arrived from Kona the day Michelle left and has been here ever since, coming alongside us during this time. And of course, Laurie, our oldest, lives close. FAMILY, both natural and spiritual, are extra important at times like these.
It all goes back to the beginning, in the book of Genesis when God created family. The enemy hates family and is doing everything he can to destroy the family. Pacific Islanders are very much part of our ‘family,' and they believe and practice honoring mothers and fathers—and all elders. Julie ministers in the Preschool in Kona at the U of N campus, under the leadership of Pacific Islanders. They released her to come home and stay as long as she feels she is to, so she can walk with us.
Tavita, Julie's son, has a full football scholarship at the University of Hawaii and he asked his coach if he could come and be with his grandpa. The coach said, “You go, family is a priority.” Then, within two hours, God provided tickets for their whole family through an anonymous donor.
God is emphasizing the importance of family and the honoring of 'fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers.' The Bible says, if we honor our mothers and fathers we will be blessed and it will go well with us. We will live long and inherit the land.
Love and Blessings,
July 9-15: Restenäs, Sweden
July 16-22: Prod, Romania
July 29-Aug 4: Champagne, France
The speaker at all Camps will be Stefaan Hugo, YWAM Facilitator for Southern Africa.
Check here for updates and more information!
When I asked for your nominations for a man and a woman who you thought had lived a wholly successful life, I wasn’t sure what sort of results—if any—there would be. I was delighted with the response which was both predictable and surprising; and I suppose, subjectively, the choices tell something about each person who did the picking!
In order of votes:
Esther, hands down the winner
Joseph, 11th son of Jacob
Mary, mother of Jesus
Ruth, the Moabitess;
Dorcas (Tabitha) & John the Beloved,
Hannah, mother of Samuel, Daniel, Peter, Barnabas & Paul
Plus one vote each for these women and men:
Sarai/Sarah, the Samaritan woman at the well & the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet,
King David, Joshua, Nehemiah, Boaz, Mordecai, Hosea, Joseph (Mary's husband), Simeon, Anna & Timothy
Last time I mentioned that I had already picked my man and woman; I didn’t change my choices (although some names submitted caused me to expand my thinking!).
I had chosen . . .
Ruth, loyalty and faithfulness personified, not even a Hebrew, yet included in the lineage of Jesus.
Joseph (perhaps not one of the Josephs you might first think of—there are several in Scripture) . . .
Not the son of Jacob,
Not any other Old Testament Joseph,
Not Joseph (Mary’s husband),
Not the one from Arimathea,
Not any other Joseph in the gospels,
Not the un-chosen disciple from the upper room Acts 1:23],
but . . .
Joseph of Cyprus [Acts 4:36], who has for many years been my hero. You would probably recognize him by the name the Apostles gave him—Barnabas—Son of Encouragement.
More on Barnabas next time,
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