“An earthly father expresses love for his children; it is no different with our heavenly Father; The Eternal shows His love for those who revere Him.” Psalm 103:13 The Voice
“But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30 Christian Standard Bible
“Then he said, Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” Luke 23:42 Christian Standard Bible
“If you are recognizing your Lord, you have no business with where He engineers your circumstances…immediately you look at them you are overwhelmed, you cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: ‘Wherefore didst thou doubt?’ Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.” (Oswald Chambers)
“… maintain complete reliance on Him.” This is a great quote from the daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest, a devotional book created from the sermons of Oswald Chambers by his wife after his death. When my wife introduced me to this book, I discovered the writings of a man I truly believe was filled with the Holy Spirit. For my part, every time I read something that he preached I find myself under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Mostly under the conviction that there are some insights I need to either remember or become reacquainted with as I seem to have missed them on past adventures into the theology of Oswald Chambers.
There is a part of me that wishes I could have known the man, known the theologian, known the person who struggled with understanding what it was to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. There is also the other part of me, the part that is too often controlled by the tapes of my past. They come from the Personal Information counter in my mind informing me that someone like Oswald Chambers would have nothing to do with someone of my ilk! Yes, my friends, my tapes run deep and wide!
I wonder if Peter’s personal information system didn’t run just as deep and wide as mine. It seems he was always trying to prove his worth to Jesus and the rest of the disciples. I understand that motivation very well, but I hadn’t considered before that it might have been a motivating factor in Peter’s life. Yet it makes so much more sense when considering how often he found himself in situations which were about to overwhelm him with disaster. Time after time Jesus needed to rescue Peter. Most often the rescue came about because Peter had a habit of speaking before thinking; I have resembled him in this area far too often. Honestly, I’m not even sure why God allows me even to put anything down in writing!
Peter needed to know he was important, especially in the eyes of his fellow disciples, Peter craved their respect. Now this is not a surprising insight. When questioned most men will admit that respect is one of those things they most need from those closest to them, including their wife and family. Unfortunately, it the one thing we receive the least of from our culture and society. In the past two decades men, especially fathers, have been portrayed as buffoons, ineffectual, clumsy louts, who don’t have a clue! Is it any wonder Fathers may need to be placed on the endangered species list?
I know the irresponsible actions, attitudes, and just plain bad behavior of the male of the species carries its own responsibility for how men and fathers are now seen, but let’s face it, poor press sure hasn’t been a confidence builder! And the male ego, that most fragile of things carries with it much of the responsibility for our actions. How we can be so strong in the physical and so fragile in the emotional is probably the most confusing factor of all, especially to us. (If you can ever get us to admit that such an incongruity exists!)
Like Peter, we long to prove our strength, our ability to handle any circumstance, that there is nothing too great for us to stand against, nothing too broken for us to fix, no danger so great we are unable to protect those we love. In other words, we long to be Superman to those we love! Sometimes in trying to prove these things, we find ourselves in waves that are crashing down on us. We realize the solid ground we thought was beneath us is liquid, and in a nanosecond we discover we never were Superman and down we go. Unfortunately, we don’t just fall down, we carry with us the humility of having failed those we love one more time. We are not only unable to rescue, protect, and save them, now we’re the one in desperate need of saving!
Jesus was brilliant at keeping everything as simple as possible. His words for daily living were, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And He promised “… you will be with Me in paradise.” Both of these are very simple insights into the Gospel as it was given by Jesus.
“… maintain complete reliance on Him.” (Jesus) That’s where we started this little stroll through God’s Grace Process. As you consider the two scriptures quoted for today, notice both have this one thing in common. These two men were unable to save themselves in any way, except to cry out to Jesus to save them! Each man faced death from choices he had made. Both made decisions in their lives that turned out wrong, and neither one had any right to be saved from their circumstances. Not one of the previous choices mattered to Jesus, all that mattered were those two men!
This past weekend, specifically Sunday was Father’s Day. It doesn’t seem to get as much attention as does Mother’s Day. As a dad, I have struggled with being a good father; I have done some things well, and others not so well! So many times I cling to God’s promise of damage control knowing he has promised I can’t mess anything up so much He is not able to make something amazing out of my disasters! As Peter cried out Jesus was already grabbing him. As the thief made his plea Jesus had already given the promise. And as I have asked for the intervention of God with His damage control, He had already it placed in action! God’s Grace is not only a noun, the greatest power is found in its impact as a verb. God’s Grace moves with passion and intimacy in our lives offering everything we need. Too often, like Peter, I become distracted by that which is of no lasting consequence.
For many the thought of their dad is painful, I understand how painful that can be. I simply ask that you give Dad another look, maybe this time through the eyes of God’s Grace. Because, as a dad I never wanted to be less than everything to my girls. And I’d be willing to bet for many of you, it’s the same for your dad!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1