Fathering; December 5, 2019

Hosea 11:3 “It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.”

Hosea really shows us the heart of God, and that heart hasn’t changed. This is a beautiful picture of our loving heavenly Father, and as a father myself I can really relate. I didn’t get angry when my daughters fell down and skinned their knees, I cleaned them up and disinfected their scrapes and comforted them. God does exactly that sort of thing with us, but the problem comes when we fail to recognize what He is doing. We cry when the washing hurts and the disinfectant stings, and sometimes even think God is being mean to us. How foolish! We are certainly no less dependent on God than a toddler is on their parents. We need to realize that, accept it, and give Him the gratitude, praise, and obedience that He is due.

Just writing this brings back many memories of my own children, along with the awareness that they aren’t perfect yet, any more than I am. There are times when I want to hug them and make everything right, but geographic and emotional separation makes that difficult. I have to release them to our mutual heavenly Father, while praying for them and staying available for whatever contact they desire. After all, they haven’t treated me as badly as Israel did Yahweh! Physically much closer to home, I have numbers of spiritual children, and the situation is actually much the same. As long as they are willing, I am to take them by the hand (metaphorically speaking) and help them learn to walk well on the often rocky road in front of them. I am to be God’s agent in washing and disinfecting their cuts and skins and scrapes, even when I have been the one who inadvertently hurt them. That can be difficult! I am to be a channel of God’s love surrounding them, so that they may be healed from the inside out. I certainly can’t do that on my own, but if I am available, God can and will use me to do that for them, and for His glory.

Father, I feel like my spiritual parenting has left a lot to be desired over the years. Thank You for Your patience with me. Looking back I can see many failures, both with my physical children and my spiritual children. Help me not keep accusing myself over those failures – or accept the devil’s accusations. Help me keep growing as the father You want me to be, so that my children of all sorts may be as You want them to be, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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