One of the sweetest times at NorthCreek Academy happens each Tuesday and Thursday morning, when the staff gathers for a devotion time. This past week, we were ministered to through the words shared by Rich Silveira. Rich, who is one our fifth grade teachers, and a father and grandfather, shared from his heart, as he taught from Ephesians. We hope God uses these words to encourage you and your family.
Fathers and Children
Scripture: Ephesians 6:1-4
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
What is this verse instructing? First to the children; Obey and Honor your parents. Then to Fathers (parents); Do not exasperate your children.
Children are born totally dependent on their parents for EVERYTHING. So what do good parents do for their children? We love them, care for them, do for them, protect them, and nurture them. Then, as they grow older we encourage them to grow to an understanding of independence and begin doing for themselves some of the things we used to do for them. Later, when they begin to flex their independence muscles, we throw up road blocks to remind them of how much they still need to depend on us. Is this how fathers (parents) exasperate their children?
How does our Heavenly Father avoid such exasperation in his children?
From the very beginning he tells us, “You need me.” Period. He loves us, cares for us, protects us, and encourages us. But He never says, “Do it yourself!” He gives us free choice, to lean on him (or not), yet he never abandons his Fatherly desire to do what fathers do for their children.
So, while we grow, we become more independent, able to do for ourselves, and we become accustomed to calling upon our Heavenly Father less often.
Then something happens that we don’t have all the answers for; death in the family, loss of a job, illness, injuries, broken relationships. And, all of a sudden we find ourselves needing to relearn dependency–our fundamental dependence on Father God for everything—which is totally natural, but seems so foreign once we fall away from it. (We may even begin to feel weak or juvenile for not being able to take care of ourselves.) But in the final analysis, we know the truth, and we need to simply recall and accept that we are the children and he is Father God, and then—we are home again and safe!
We may need to be reminded, often, that we really do depend on God for everything we used to expect from our parents—BEFORE we grew up!
Why do children fight their parents? For the same reason that Christians fight God—the illusion of independence blinds us of the truth. And the illusion of independence is the roadblock to family unity here on earth and with our God. We should not act like exasperated children. We should lean on God.
I loved that time before my grandsons were mobile. They were small and warm and snuggly. I could pick them up and hug them any time I wanted and there wasn’t a whole lot they could do about it. Fortunately for me, most of the time, they were OK with the attention. Things change, though, when children begin to understand that they have choices. They can decide for themselves what seems good or right and can express their choices in vocal and physical ways.
One evening when I was babysitting the boys it was time to get into our bedtime routine, I got Christopher into his jammies, gave him his milk, read the story, and headed back to the bedroom. He jumped up onto his bed and we did our prayers. I leaned over to give him a hug and heard, “No!” I reached over to brush the hair out of his eyes and kiss him goodnight. “No touch, Papa.”
“Can’t Papa give you a hug?” I asked.
“Let me tuck you in then.”
“No, Papa. I do it mytelf.”
Well, you can imagine how I felt. It is crushing for a new grandpa when your grandchild refuses your affection. But, even toddlers are people that have some choices, and on this night, this little person chose not to be touched by Papa, and I honored that choice
How often do we say “no touch“ to God? He loves us. He wants to hold us, protect us, and “tuck us in.” Yet, at times, we act like we’re tired of his constant attention and affection. We forget how much we need him. If I take the time to think about it, I can imagine how God might be feeling on some days as I work through my routines, my life, without a second thought to God. I make my own choices, and God honors those choices.
I do know that whatever my grandsons do or say, they cannot change my love for them. They might irritate me or hurt my feelings, even make me angry. They cannot, however, change my love for them or my desire that they should have wonderful lives full of love and security.
We know God loves us. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us even on those days when we say “no touch” to him. We may hurt him, disappoint him, or maybe even ignore him. Still, there He will be, just outside our room, peeking in on us as we sleep, waiting expectantly for his next opportunity to get close, really close, to the children he loves.
“I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5
So, what is the Father’s example? Be available to love, care for, protect, nurture. It is not forced or imposed, but it is steadfast!
We need to learn, then teach, that our dependence on God is not a sign of weakness.
It is the most natural expression of love!
–written by Rich Silveira, Fifth Grade Teacher at NorthCreek Academy