Friday, February 08, 2008

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NKJV)-"The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you."

So, Alisha (the oldest still at home), was driving herself, a friend, and our two youngest daughters to church Wednesday night. Since I would have to pass the church on my way home from work and then come back, I usually just stop off at the church without going home. It makes for a long day sometimes, but it's okay…it won't kill me.

My phone rings, and it's my wife, telling me that Alisha has just been in an accident. Immediately, she tells me not to panic, that everyone is okay. The accident occurred less than a mile from the house, but my wife has no way there. So, I come on home.

Now, Alisha was not worried about anything dealing with the accident. She made sure her sisters and her friend were okay, and made sure that the police had been contacted. She made sure that she called her mother and told her everything was okay, and the van was fine.

She was terrified of how I was going to react. It scared her just thinking about it. I did not KNOW any of this; but being the kind of father I am, I anticipated this reaction.

I decided on my way home that I would go and pick up my wife, and then go to the accident. I figured that way, Mom would be there, and I could just make sure everyone was okay; survey the damage (if any) on the van, and be there in case Alisha was too shaky to drive. Plus, Mom would be a calming figure.

I passed the scene on the way home. It was REALLY close to the house, and the girls all saw me pass by; I saw it in the look on their faces. I knew at that point I was making the right choice going home and picking up Becky. We got back there, and got out, and I purposefully asked them if they were all okay in a low voice. I did not want anything in my voice to make anyone think they were in trouble.

Alisha burst into tears as I asked her. Kaitlyn and Sammy, who were in the back seats of the van, said that Alisha did great; she was more terrified of me than of the accident. I told them all it was okay, and I was not mad. I was just worried for them; wanting to make sure they were okay.

I walked around the van at that point, looking at the bumper where she impacted, and thinking about that reaction. On the one hand, as a father, you want that fear to be in them; the fear of making a bad choice or errant decision and having to face the consequences.

On the other hand, as a dad, you want to be able to truly let them know that you love them deeply, and only care about their well-being. You want them to be the best they can be in life, and want to be the strongest influence in their life, outside of God Himself. You want it so that they will know that they can come to you when a mistake has happened and you will not stop loving them; instead, you will love them more.

Then, I found that verse.

Too many times, we want to hit people over the head with our doctrines and Bibles. We want to beat salvation in them, and talk them into church. We turn off the very people we need to be reaching; turning them against the very Person who can bring them the peace they are so desperately searching for.

God says that if we follow His commandments, He will establish us as His people. And HE will put fear in the peoples of your world, to make them afraid of you and the God you serve. He doesn't say go out and scare them; He says you do what I say, and I will make you My people. I will establish you and put fear into your enemy's hearts on your behalf.

If I fear Him and keep His commandments, He will cause everyone else to respect me and want to know Him. I can't do it by beating them over the head; but I can do it by fearing Him.

Alisha and the girls are okay; things are back to normal. They have a healthy fear of their Daddy, but I think inside they know he loves them too. I'm hard on them; I'll be the first to admit it. I am stricter on them than a lot of their friends' parents are, and they know it. They know to expect consequences.

Sometimes, we expect bad to come from God as well; especially if we do something we perceive as wrong. We know about the law of sowing and reaping, but like a child, we don't really think we should have to face it.

Sometimes, it smacks us square in the face. And sometimes, it's our own imagination that makes us worry. And when we hear the still, small voice of God, asking us if we're okay, instead of feeling delighted, we feel terrified.

God loves you. He wants what is best for you. He's not chastising you every time He speaks to you; He wants you to know He loves you. He wants to make sure you know that He is there if you need Him, to wipe the tears away.

Remember that, the next time you have a little fender-bender on this road of life. It could be worse; it could be that you don't know at all how much He cares for you. Imagine how that life is for someone around you.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

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