Sunday, August 30, 2009

What we want - isn't always what we need

My boat is sinking. I want a cup. I want a bail out. What I need is a plug to stop the leak.

You warn me of the hole. I yell at you to throw a cup. You know the waters. You've swam them before. You know it's shallow and I won't drown. You tell me to get out, it's not too deep. I yell, "throw me a cup, that‘s what I need."

You toss me a plug. I cry for a cup. You ask me to trust. I say you don't care.
You tell me, "get out and plug the hole." I sit in my sinking, refusing to move, pointing a finger, "You did this to me."

Sinking to rock bottom, realizing I won’t drown. Soaked and humbled I walk to dry ground. You wait with a towel, dry clothes and warm fire. The cup, I wanted, now filled with warm cider. “If you needed a cup I would give it. If you needed money I would provide. What you want is not always what you need.”

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11

My wife and I have felt the pelt of harsh words raining down on us. "What kind of Christians would not help someone in need, especially their own. What hypocrites."

What’s worse is the source. The words hurled at us at various times from those we love. I hate to admit it, but I am partially to blame. Guilty of “bail-outs.” We fed a monster called irresponsibility, it gave birth to a welfare mentality.

We grew up hearing cliche's such as; “If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing at all” (as a youngster I would reply, “well then, let’s not do it at all” - it never got me out of mowing the lawn though.”) and “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself,” and one of my favorites, “ ‘the good book says, God helps those who help themselves.’ ” (although that’s not in the Bible as far as I know, if I brought up that minor detail they would just say, “well, it should be.”)

Following those instructions worked… as far as work is concerned. But to our children’s detriment. Rather than say 1,001 times “clean your room… pick up toys… take out trash and finish your homework.” We did it ourselves, and created a monster. (Before I dig myself into a hole I can't get out of I better say; "Kids, I love you, I'm proud of you and thank God for're not monsters)

Years later we heard, "I can't afford...I don't know how I'm going to pay...If I only had the money..." Hints. Asking without coming right out and asking. A bail out. No strings attached. No advice. Just money. Be my ATM machine and we’ll get along just fine. If not, I’ll turn on you like a rabid dog. You always picked up my toys and cleaned up my messes in the past, so where are you now?

How in the world did this happen, I ask myself.

Seeing the real problem I explain…

“If I give my truck keys to a baby, they could get hurt, poked or choked. However, if I give the keys to my son, he could use them as a tool, allowing him to drive to work."

"A tool in the hand of a master craftsman can be used to create a thing of beauty. However, that same tool in my hand may be used to create… a thing. (but not of beauty.) "

"Money is a tool. Like any tool it can help or hurt, depending on how it is used."

It sounds so good to me. I can’t understand why they don’t receive my excellent wisdom. Then it occurs to me, they are acting just like me. "Give it to me I’ll just do it myself."

I want to sit down and discuss proper ways to accomplish this or that, they have no patience, no time. This is foreign territory.

If I could have a do over I’d invest more time and spend less money. Time teaching the art of enjoying undesirables. Things like chores, homework and responsibility can be enjoyed, it's a matter of perception.

I think as a father I have failed in many ways, loving impatiently and imperfectly.

I am guilty of giving (and asking for) “bail-outs” when what I needed was patching lessons to plug holes in the boat.

I started writing this before church today. To my surprise we had baby dedications, several. Parents vowing to raise children in Godliness. The church agreeing to help by prayer and example. Last night, before shutting out the light, I read out of First Samuel. (It just so happened to be where I was at in my Bible reading.) The story revolved around Hannah dedicating her son Samuel to the Lord. And Eli rebuked for not disciplining his sons. **The very scripture references read during the dedications. It got my attention.

Although my kids are young adults, and I stayed in my seat, I whispered the dedication prayer along with the new moms and dads. I stood in faith for all my kids and grand kids. I figured with God all things are possible, it’s never too late.

Today Lord I dedicate all of my children to you. I vow from this day forward I will invest more quality time and prayer in them. I will live as a Godly example. They are yours and I pray for your good and perfect will to be done in their lives from this moment forward. Amen.



Anne L.B. said...

The total irony of 1 Samuel is that even after what happened with Eli's sons, even though he was among the most godly of all biblical heroes (as implied in Jeremiah 15:1), Samuel had two corrupt sons of his own. I look at my five kids and cry out, "Lord, is there any hope?"

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23 NKJV)

Every day is a fresh start.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

You know what? I pray that same sort of prayer every day, and every day I manage to mess something up. But God's mercies are new every morning. Amen?

And we keep "plugging" along.

Love your honesty here. Keep pressing on, brother.

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

I'm just at the beginning of the journey with two little ones and it's already a challenge to instill responsibilities. I often get overwhelmed and want to cave in, skip the hassles and do everything myself. Your prayer at the end inspired me. I talked with my Hubby and we prayed together.

Thanks, Doug, for such an honest post that encouraged me. God's love covers our misses.