Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Father's Lament

What Did I Do or Fail To Do That Resulted in Your Current Choices? - Micah 6:3-5

Is there someone in your life now or has there been in the past, who has messed up really badly?  Maybe your child, a spouse, a sibling, or a friend whom you poured your life into, that went off the rails?  I suppose the best example is commonly a child who has been raised in church, taught early and often about Jesus, and who seemed to be growing up a believer.

Maybe they got saved early, and you were proud at their decision.  Later they were baptized and you were thrilled that they were willing to make a public profession.  In high school they went to the youth group, had mountain top experiences at camp, and told others about their faith.  But then, one day the rug got pulled out from under your expectations for them.

Commonly, they might be a cause for rejoicing in other areas of their life.  Grades, degrees, talents, great jobs, even a beautiful family of their own.  You're thankful, and tell them so, for the good choices they've made in these other areas of their life.  But as a believer, you understand only too well that these successes have no eternal substance.  Your heart breaks for their salvation.

Sometimes it is even worse.  They may be on a paved road straight to an earthly hell.  Drugs seem to be the destroyer of choice today, but the root is commonly the same as it has been since time began, sexual sin.  Promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, rape, molestation.  The destroyers of our souls
manifesting themselves in divorce, child abandonment, abortion, poverty, depression, despair, anger, and drugs of all types and descriptions to numb the pain.

Many have written poems, songs, and books about the grief of losing a child to cancer or an accident.  But at least those things have a finality, a grieving, and a hope for a future heavenly relationship.  With a child who has chosen to walk away from God and embraced sinful behavior, the pain just goes on and on.

The pain has many facets.  You are hurting for your child (or spouse, friend, sibling), but you are also questioning your own part in the playing out of their life.  You might feel like asking them:  "What did I do that has caused you to reject my teaching, example, and outpouring of love, even sacrifice?"

You might feel like giving them a list of the things you did for them:  the pain of childbirth, the sleepless nights, the financial sacrifices, the massive amount of time invested in their future and their spiritual upbringing.  How could they now turn away and act so unappreciative?  How could they have so little respect for you and your beliefs, that they would turn utterly from the most important life lesson you imparted.  How is it that they don't love you enough to show you they care about your desire for their life and soul?

As you ponder and maybe even pray for a moment about the person in your life that fits that storyline, you are probably experiencing some renewal of the pain.  For that I apologize.  But there is a larger point here.

Your Heavenly Father has all the same questions, and all the same heartache.  He wonders aloud in Micah 6 how it is possible that his chosen people could have turned away from his outpouring of love and devotion.  He isn't asking the question about the unsaved.  He doesn't expect them to behave well.  He is asking it about the Israelites, and by extension he is asking it about those in the church today.  In other words, he is asking those questions about you and me.  Micah 6:3

“My people, what have I done to you?
    How have I burdened you? Answer me.
I brought you up out of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
    also Aaron and Miriam.
My people, remember
    what Balak king of Moab plotted
    and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

The Lord God, our Heavenly Father, asks very little of his chosen people.  For what he has provided us, he could ask so much more.  And just like you, as you weep over your lost child, He isn't even asking you to do something that will harm you.  Everything He asks of you is for your own good, both now and in eternity.

So how is it that we, (that includes me) have so much difficulty staying on course with our love and devotion to God and Jesus?  How is it that we are not calling him on the smartest phone ever invented to share our most intimate issues and hearts desires?  He is obviously thrilled that you have chosen to trust him as your Lord and Savior, and to live your life for Him.  But are you living your life for Him? Or is He getting the left overs?

Here is all he asks of you.  Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

I'd love to hear from you if this passage has impacted you as much as it has me.

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1 comment:

Roger said...

God provided man with the garden of Eden abundant fruits & vegetables of all sorts. Man desired more. End result - We learn about sin. I have learned much though the study of the Father's Lament which was part of the 12th Station of the Cross. Thank you to my generous Father for all he has given me. My Life, Wife, Family, Health, Wealth, Knowledge & Faith. May I use them wisely to return my devotion & love to Him.