17 March 2013 by Stewart Chew-
I never truly understood what being a ‘father’ meant until I became one myself. My two daughters became my best friends and I loved them dearly and I would do everything for them. Well not quite everything! I always remembered the time when my elder daughter Sharlene was about 8 years old and she asked whether she could stay overnight at her cousin’s (who is several years older) and I refused. Sharlene was very disappointed and quite angry with me that I did not allow her to do the thing she wanted to do so much.
When we were young, we have our earthly father as our best mate. Whenever we are scared, we would turn around to look for dad and his presence always calms us and his voice comforts us. When he takes us to the park to play, we will run freely around but we always make sure that our dad is within earshot. When we often stumble and scratch our knees and cry he will be so quick to gather us up and console us as he checks the cuts and scratches. Truly, I have never experienced a more comforting feeling than to be in the arms of my father – then I am quickly OK in two seconds and I want to be released so that I can run around again!
Some of us might have lost our earthly fathers but we still have our Heavenly Father. Like our earthly father, He knows us better than we do because He created us! He also wants to be within earshot from us and be involved in all the things we do but we must first allow Him. He wants to be part of every aspect of our daily lives which includes our relationship with our spouses, children, families and friends, our studies, work, ambitions, aspirations, recreations, travel etc. It is like we are holding a cluster of helium-filled balloons, each representing one aspect of our life and we are allowing God to hold them for us. Instead, we deliberately want to be in control and God remains as only one of the many balloons. Maybe we might not evenwant to have a God-balloon!
Often, through our many disappointments and also because of the tragedies we may see or experienced ourselves in life, we begin to believe that surely there cannot be a God or He will never let all these things happen (sound familiar?). How is it possible that my best friend in school lost her mother and then her father in one week? Why did God possibly allow the 7/11 horrors to even happen? What about the catastrophes like earthquakes and floods that have been killing thousands upon thousands in Pakistan, China and Japan? How can there possibly be a compassionate God?
To try and explain, I have to recall my experience as a father to my daughter Sharlene and how I ‘interfered’ with her activities. My disallowing her to go and stay overnight at her cousins upset her a lot because I had not seen her cry so much! Sharlene has grown up to be a lovely girl and has gone to bigger and better things. I have often asked her whether she could recall that incident and being told in return that I must have got a good memory because she does not remember it at all! Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forget!
Throughout our lives we have suffered many disappointments. For example, we were turned down on a job we really wanted so much. Then we remembered like it was yesterday when a junior worker got the promotion ahead of us. Later, our loan to purchase the house was turned down by the bank that we have always been saving our money! Naturally, we blamed God for allowing all this to happen to us, although we have always believed in Him and prayed to Him. Before we blame anybody, let us recall the incident when my dad took me to the park to play. He allowed me to freely run around and climband although he hadme nearby, he cannot protect me from falling and hurting myself. Thus, though we are in the realm of God, He has ‘no control’ over the things we choose to do. However, notice how quickly the earthly father picks up and comforts the crying child. Be assured that God knows and cares. For those of us who trust Him, like the crying child, our temporary disappointments quickly dissipate when our Heavenly Father intervenes.
Imagine the perils facing a small child going to the park to play without mum or dad following behind. That small child is like so many of us stumbling in our daily lives not believing nor asking for the interference of our Heavenly Father!If God is not sharing the control of the flight of all our helium-filled balloons, is it fair that we should hold Him responsible for the loss of every one of them? We cannot say that God does not listen or answer our prayers when things go wrong because we do not allow Him any control!
What are prayers? Do we only pray when we want favours? As a father, I will be very disappointedif my daughter Sharlene only talks to me when she wants a lollipop or an ice cream. How joyful it must be for parents when a child regularly comes near and talks innocently, hugs and tells them how much she loves them! It is the same with our Heavenly Father! When we have a conversation with Him (as in praying) concerning everything we do, it is a special time between Father and child. It is an intimate time of telling God that we allow Him to have control of all our life balloons. When we share our personal activities with Him, especially in the things that worry us (Psalm 55:22), we are confident of His peace and promises. All disappointments would be but superficial scratches.
I challenge the reader to honestly examine his heart for the presence of a loving, caring and personal God. You must have experienced the love of your Heavenly Father many times before, although you may not have recognized it and always regarded it as a ‘stroke of good luck’! God is not a mysterious being, remote and separate from all of us in one isolatecorner of Heaven. But He is always close to you like your earthly father would and has always cared and loved you. Test Him.
Note: Stewart Chew is a retired senior lecturer in School of Medical Sciences, Curtin University in Perth, Australia
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