First Words, Last Words?
“Can you believe he said that?!” This question carries weight and sometimes provokes alarm in our society today. A question of surprise, a question of uncertainty, a question of judgement - how do we interpret it? As an educator, I can remember parents voicing concern about their child’s lack of learning, as they sought an explanation to avoid confusion, and even as a citizen hearing leaders feeling disappointment. As humans we have all certainly felt such inclinations. One thing is true, as Christians with a greater reward and responsibility we must not hesitate to communicate.
From a personal experience, I remember one of my greatest days. First words - every parent looks forward to that moment. Revelation of intelligence, of learning to be understood from children when they practice that first utterance. Lucky me, my firstborn chose “da-da.” Perhaps it was because I was louder, taller, darker? I do not know the full reasoning behind my daughter’s new vocabulary, but it was exciting. A special joy is reserved when parents know there is an expanded relationship to be shared with their offspring. Is it any different in our relationship with our Heavenly Father?
The parent-child relationship is a beautiful one. It is a process that grows fruitfully as it is nourished in all the right ways. Unfortunately in today’s age we often see how this relationship can be stunted if improperly nourished.
It is saddening to hear a parent murmur, “I have no idea where that came from,” or “that’s not the child I raised.” We understand that we all have a purpose; we were designed by our Creator and given life with the greatest love possible. As we grow, physical needs are necessary, but they are not enough. We often discount it, but one of the most vital growth supplements is one we take for granted - receiving words of wisdom. Do we use His words as he gave them?
As students, we often embrace new learning enthusiastically, understanding the content as well as its source. Sadly, there appears to be an unhealthy change in the attitude of learners, and it serves as a warning for me as a Christian as well. While technology makes the sharing of information more convenient, it also introduces new challenges, which we must be ready to face. Do we find those seeking selfish paths of destruction, ill-conceived shortcuts, or even the exploration of ideas and actions that take us farther from the will of Father? Without proper guidance, the immature may lose sight of the greater reward, which we can find from above.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
As Christians we must ask, “How is our communication process?” As parents, do we guide as the fathers of old? With a tender heart, do we love as Jacob, who watched a family become mighty with the blessings of the Lord. Do we mournfully rock like Eli, with abusive children arrogantly displaying misplaced trusts that disregard the truth of the Lord? Are we saddened as Samuel, a journeyman for the Lord, whose own sons seemed lost as they offered strange fire. Even the confident David saw his own sons display a father’s character misappropriated, attempting to usurp his throne.
Were these fathers aware of the intentions of their children? Could they predict the attempts to go astray? At what point do these lost children resolve to walk their own path, and with what motivation? Each single case can serve a unique warning for parental guidance, as well demonstrating severe repercussions for actions not within God’s will.
As children ourselves, are we in regular contact with our Father most high? One must ask, “Do I pray regularly? Do I seek his guidance for direction?” The Bible is full of eternal truths providing guidance for our paths as well as serving as reference for specific answers. Do we “listen” to our Lord, even when our prayers are “unanswered”? It may not be the answer we always want, but He will provide a way. As parents, do we demonstrate that there are rules? Certain life practices MUST be respected and in no way infringed upon. There are no permissions to circumvent law specifically stated in scripture. Understand, this will not be known, unless we communicate. He has a given truth, He has given direction; we must listen, where appropriate - we must speak.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
By remaining silent, I, as a careless father, will leave my children to wander aimlessly and find wrong answers - unproven. If I do not do my part, I, as a bystander, will see a world that continues to offer strange fire by its own interpretation, lacking understanding. If I do not see, I, as a child, will find in my wanderings no successful discovery of truth and assurance of safety. If we do not seek the Father, he will not find us, His children. As His children, what words and actions will our Father remember? Any? Or will He “have never known us?” (Matt. 7:21-23)
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5