Thursday, September 14, 2017


Parenting is a tedious, glorious, heart-warming, and tedious privilege.  And, did I mention tedious?  I wish to encourage parents to reclaim a grace in the family system that is ordinarily tossed out on its ear as useless; as a loser with no value.  I speak of when matters do not go the way the child wanted whether grade report, gift received, or rejection in general.

Anyone can cheer their children on in victory.  It's the ugly defeating moments which are also impregnated with value; extremely useful.  Usually, though, such moments are quickly covered up with some smoke-screem reward so that hopefully son or daughter doesn't remember long the suffering of their disappointment of being rejected.

But what if these moments are, instead, useful?  What if we don't rush to cover up so that the defeated will soon forget?  What if, rather, points of victory are found in the center of defeat?  Isn't that what Israel encountered when they were being driven toward the sea with assumed ultimate drowning?  Isn't that what Jesus discovered upon the Cross?  Isn't that what Peter found when he failed the Son of God?  Isn't that what Paul found when imprisoned?

In each case, God did the remarkable to the extent that if in these four occasions there had not been turbulantic stress and confusion, there would have been no occasion for elaborate and perpetual this very day!  So it is with our children's bad days.  Each experience is infused with life-lessons of awaiting wow and awe for the next God-story.

I cringed, often wept, at each of my three kids' demise.  But I also learned that such moments were opportunities for timely training.  Find the value in suffering.  Yes, your heard me.  God doesn't waste any moments and neither must we.

We must for the Kingdom trek is all about---all about--suffering according to the pattern.  When we don't train in the midst of trial, we may rear a bunch of talk-big, attend-a-lot-of-things quitters.  If not groomed to suffer and keep on going, stresses and disappointments will likely quench the fire in what was supposed to be strong and vibrant hearts.

In general, today's society doesn't do struggle.  We excuse.  We cover.  We blame.  We run.  I know the temptation.  I know the pain.  I have failed and been failed.  I have hurt and been hurt.  Yet, I always somehow knew to go to school during the rough times...and learn...learn deeper the ways of Jesus.  It is in the, what we would call, trenches that anyone grows.

It isn't in the squeaky-clean atmosphere of sweet church; but in the crushing blows of hurt feelings and deeper offences that our boys and girls become men and women who refuse to tuck tail and run.  Rather, these learn bravery through the training...the repeated training of spiritual endurance.

When your child has a bad day, try to remember that he or she is in a special school learning how to reach the multitudes of rejected ones who are have their bad days and will one day could be their converted friends; their neighbors.  We don't win souls by lecture....nor convenience.  We win by living from the Cross He handed us...and it must not be projected as an easy, no-bother path.  Children are to be trained as children not to just go to church...but be the church where it isn't always a ballgame of sorts; nor a picnic.

Therefore life in the church will be both troublesome and rewarding....both...not just the one we prefer.  May we be attentive to the specifics of training our children to experience victory...even in the losses.

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