Loving Father

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The psalmist writes: “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

I haven’t suffered as many people have been forced to live. Saying that, I have had some trials that have tested me; some I have passed; others have shocked me to my very core.

Being the former tough-guy Marine, I never gave anyone real credit for my ability to bounce back. But, bouncing back has been more difficult over the past five years; I believe it is an age thing . . . definitely not a willingness thing; although it has been more of an issue psychologically as each year passes. My “never-give-up” attitude sometimes evolves into a “who-gives-a-damn” philosophy. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who snaps me from these times of being down.

Maybe because I am on a vestry retreat at the Roslyn Center in Richmond; maybe this weekend, in addition to being a work weekend for the team is also a spiritually-enriched period of quiet reflection. In my meditation, I bring back into my thinking the fact that we all are children of God. And, like a loving parent, God tends to our cuts and bruises so that we can go out and play some more . . . to get more cuts and bruises. But each time, we run home to that loving parent for a little first aid and a lot of love. Mom gets hurt when we ignore her; dad gets huffy when we argue with him; but both love us dearly.

When my children were “growing up,” we were there to cuddle and nurture them; celebrate their victories; hu them tightly when they fail. We do for our children, as our parents did for us. It is related to the preservation of continued growth for the species, mankind. Without this, mankind could not have lasted. Even in the animal kingdom, the mature member nurtures the immature until the immature can live on its own and grow families of its own. Darwin had a lot to do with proving this in his book The Origin of Species.

This entire preamble has been to remind me, to remind us, that God is that loving, nurturing parent who is beside us eternally to heal our wounds and hug us when we fail. Too often, however, and by that, I mean most often, we do not turn to God when things go wrong. And, if we do, we blame him for not being there to help of protect us. See the difference? We ran to our parents for aid and comfort, but we blame God for our cuts and bruises.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.” In my distress! And only in my distress.  Why not, in my love, I turned to God. In my joy, I turned to God? When we are successful, we turn to our family and say let’s celebrate. We should include God in this celebration, but I turned to God in my distress.

And, like a true loving parent, He opens his arms and welcomes us like the prodigal son. . . over and over and over again. Today, in my distress, I am not turning to God asking for a band-aid to cover my wound, I am turning to God to thank him for being the true parent we all have.

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