Abiding Grace: Beyond the Likes of our Heart

“I don’t like you, Dad.  You’re not good to me today.”

“Oh Really? What’s the matter? What do you like?”

“You don’t allow me to play.”

“Yes. Let’s practice your poem for 10-15 minutes, before you play.”

“No, Dad.  I like to play now.”

“Okay.  I will let you do whatever you like, guaranteed.  But let’s practice, first.”

“You’re real bad now, Dad.  I don’t like you.”

He looked around the house, for a while, seeking support probably.  Since there’s no one, he turned back.

“I’m sorry, Dad.  Let’s practice.  But let’s play together when we’re done, please?”

“No, my dear son let us play first.  When you’re happy, we’ll practice.”

“Thank you, Dad.  I love you!”

You already get it, I hope.  By the way, that’s me and my five-year-old son bargaining for a deal.  A father would never want to upset their children.

Let us play with blocks
Scattered playing items for children

When my children did not liked me for few moments I feel pained, it hurts.  I wanted them to like me and enjoy my company as much as I liked them.

In the meantime, I often wanted to say, at least in my mind; I gave up my career to be with you because I love you.  I am also human.  However, I try my best to not tagged myself with this tagline.  A likable dad, I wanted to be.

Many times, we don’t like the company of Jesus Christ in our daily walk of life.  We would have our own reasons.  We are not free, unable to do what we like.  Will our attitude be hurtful?  I think so.  He laid down His life, in the worst manner undeservingly, for us.

We, as a human, have our own liking.  It comes from inside and sometimes out of nowhere.  It might not be wrong to say, we like to play it our own way.  When things don’t go as we liked, we get upset.

For as long as we can play the way we liked, we tend to forget to talk to our Father, our Heavenly Father.  We don’t want to learn lessons, the very much needed lesson, for our future endeavor.  We like to avoid teachings as much as we could.

Once our path seems rocky, when we hit some stones on the road, the journey was not smooth anymore.  Then we began looking around for help.  Still, not willing to submit in His ways, at least for now, we looked around, which is a good sign.

We vent our anger and ire at our Creator; we are not struck dead, right there.  When we can express our displeasures in complete sense not trying to cause harm, it can be a huge step for building relationships.

Like the father-son relationship, we could be with our God, who is our Father.  The shedding of blood, on the cross, has made us His son.  A father seldom do things that will simply hurt their children.

In His abiding grace, He listened to us dearly, waited for us patiently.  But what will not serve us good, we did not get.  We need to get adjusted or change our approached.

Giving in, letting His ways inside us, would be the first thing to do.  It will please our heart in the long-run, beyond the human mind could foresaw.

 

Abiding Grace: Finding Hope amidst Uncertainty

Uncertainty, undeniably, is one of the ingredients in the walk of life.  It happened for a reason, may be.

My son just came back from school.  As usual, I enquired as to what they did at school.  They played and they enjoyed, which was good.  When we sent our children to school, we want them to learn something.  If their progress can be seen, we become happier.  Anyways, it doesn’t happen that way, always.

My Son doing his homework
Children; Writing practice

Some worksheets, they brought along, to be done at home.  At times, children simply didn’t follow our instructions.  And we forget they are just starting.  As a parent, we are uncertain about their future.  Parenting was never easy – you get discouraged one minute, you get happy with full of hope the other time.

Imparting knowledge, for some of us, isn’t easy.  That’s why we sent them to school, to get help while we raised them.  We want our children to blossom into stars.  However, several rounds of ‘test of patience’ needed to overcome first.  Amidst that uncertainty, we have hope when we rested the matter in God’s Abiding Grace.

investments calculation
Calculating Investments

Investments, in all its forms, had an uncertain future.  The sales person feed us good return for every policy or investment plans.  It is their job; they are trained for that purpose only.  It is us, the investors, who got stuck, if it goes awry.  We might not reap the fruit in time.

Like others, in our pursuit of happiness, we tend to invest amidst uncertainty.  We must take a risk yet it can take us into bondage.  Being unable to get rid of any investments due to unforeseen reasons is also hard to bear.  Yet, in His abiding grace, we have hope that at least we might be delivered in time.  In any type of the outcome, God’s grace is behind what led us till today.

Emptiness seen glass
Empty glass

Emptiness, inside the heart, can eat up our body too.  Several times, when I wanted to commune with God, it seems God was far away today.  When our emptiness is not filled by the Holy Spirit, it is as good as a half-dead person.  When the cup is not filled, we have nothing to offer our surroundings.  In this time of uncertainty, God’s abiding grace still abided with us although we did not feel it.

We wanted to perform good things yet we ended up doing bad things.  Without His grace not a soul will live.  Waiting silently to transform us, to fill us again, will give us hope amidst this uncertainty – the dilemma or unpredictability.

When we’re let down or we felt let down beyond our normal living, it is more difficult.  In the evening, as usual, we go out to spend time in a park nearby.  My children, in their prime, were active.  They wanted to play with me.  At times, I am unable to play with them as much as they wanted.  It isn’t easy to be in that condition.

Playing with Children in the park
Playing with Children

For every person, I hope, it is our dream to spent time with, play with our children till they get bored.  It was uncertain when would Daddy get fully fit to play with them into their hearts contentment.  Yet you don’t want to let them know of all your difficulties.  It is their happiness that comes first.  Time and again, it is my duty to give them hope and assured them of His abiding grace.  One thing is certain amidst all uncertainty, Jesus Christ died for us.  He set the path right for all of us.

Let me end herewith that in every sphere of uncertainty in our walk of life, God’s grace is abiding.  He did all the necessities unseen to our earthly eyes.  It’s just that we didn’t observe God’s work or might be ignoring it.

Let’s try to make uncertainty be just a phase in our journey.

What do you want to say to God?

“Papa, I forget my prayer lines!” exclaimed my son.  The feeling of little disappointment can be sense from his voice.  And I rushed to his rescue, immediately.

join hands while praying
Joined hands in prayer

A child needs to be taught how to pray.  I teach my children few prayer lines, which I thought, would instill the practice, and make it easier for them beginners.  Bed time, morning, and mealtime provided suitable time for such practices.

“Dear, don’t get upset,” I said to encourage him in his learning.  It is a good feeling when a child wanted to say a prayer by themselves.

In the meantime, questions like: Why do I need to pray? Is God really watching… needed to be answer sincerely and carefully.

“What will I do if I forget my lines again?” he asked.

“Son, you won’t forget again. However, if it happens again think about what you wanted to say to God.”

His eyes shone bright in excitement!

So I continued, “Because, in reality, you are talking to God when you pray.  If you are happy, say thank you to God.  If you are upset, let it be known to God.  If you want something you didn’t have  yet, you tell Him.  Then, if it’s necessary for you, God will give you.  So, say something at the least.”

“Oh! I’ll keep that in my mind next time,” said my son who now looks really excited.  And he really did it.  I’ve seen him.

Again, I asked him, “What do you want to say to God?”  The answers seem to be unending.  For a child, who did not know what to say to God a few minutes back, he was now flooded with his so many ‘thank yous’ as well as his request for himself and others he cared for.

During His time here on earth, Jesus Christ taught disciples how to pray.1 It makes me believed that one needed to be taught how to pray, especially for beginners in life and  spiritual new born.  More importantly, it is the heart which really matters than what we expressed, we are also told.

We are so blessed that we can pray anytime, anywhere, and whenever we need His presence.   God is omnipotent and preeminent, and we knew that, although there are some people who didn’t accept it.

Sometimes, being an adult human in the ‘groaning’ planet, it is difficult to get into the mood for praying.  I don’t feel connected.  The feeling of being unconnected, mostly, is because I had focus too much on myself or due to an astonishing lack of discernment.

However, in that particular time and place, I needed prayer the most.  In those moments, your priceless act of concern by praying for me will set me free.   There is no such thing as insurmountable problem in the eyes of God.

So, whether you are happy or unhappy, let me urge you to say something to God.  For your one act of random kindness by prayer will work wonders for you and for others as well.

1. Matthew 6:9-13 (The Lord’s Prayer)

Reflection of me

‘Now you look like a real Mister’, echoed my son in the back of the room.  I was dressing up for the day.

By this time, I knew someone was always watching my behavior.  What comes from my mouth and what I did are going to have impact on my child.

Parenting was not an easy task.  There is no certain written code, for success, in the program.  While they are young they learn more from what they heard or seen.  They did not have that processing needed for filtering as of now.

It seems we are playing the game of ‘copycats’, if there is such a game ever.  In reality, it is not a game.  I am the main role model for my child at the moment.  I am happy with that.  In the meantime, it is time for me to guide in choosing a role model outside the house, for now and when they grow up.

Which book to pick up first in the morning, they knew already.  How did Daddy start his day?  You ask your little ones, they will have the answers.

Sometimes I think children are the reflection of us, at least before they become intoxicated with the outside world.  So it is important to act thoughtfully, which was rather much easier said than done.

Although studies do not show most of the bad behavior of the child does not reflected from their parents, it is worth a try.

Superhero – an enticing characters

We love something extraordinary, just a larger than life figure, it seems.  Adult and children are equally left bewildered about such characters.  In today’s world, it is another craze of our generation.  It is a good thing to help in understanding the heroes.

Superman, Spiderman, Batman… to kid’s Yokai, you name it.  Characters are countless.  Every distinct culture must have their own characters or myth, which are larger than life.  By the way, we all are fascinated by such stories and character.

I still remember the day I introduced such type of character to my children during our ‘story time’.  The name was Samson-the strongest person recorded in the Bible.  My kids are mesmerized by the story as I was narrating.  Each short pause in the narration was waited by anxious faces.  They have seen much cartoon characters and superheroes movies but not a natural power, who don’t need extra catalyst to incite his power.  It was different.

There is a secret to Samson’s power.  His hair should not be cut.  A razor must not touch his head.  As an adult, Samson’s strength allowed him to tear apart a lion with his bare hands and to defeat many of their enemies* with supernatural acts of strength.  There comes Delilah, the harlot, who was used by the enemy to subdue him.  Samson falls on the beauty of Delilah.  They captured him, cut off his tresses, and was blinded.

After a time, the enemies chose to bring Samson out of prison to make sport of him.  He was brought into the arena during a festival where about 3,000 men and women were in attendance.

Samson repented and begged forgiveness before his God, and also to renew his strength.  God did approve his prayer.  He renewed his strength but not his eyesight.  He died there with many of his enemies.   That’s to it.  He died there amongst his enemies beaucse he despise his purpose.

My children have so many questions to ask regarding this ‘very strong man’.   Would he be stronger than Hulk or Spiderman or Superman….and so on.  Parents, who have experience their curiosity level, will know clearly.  “Can we be as strong as him, if we didn’t cut our hair?”  The reply was, “I don’t think so, No”   But that’s the joy of telling a story to children.

Even in our young ages, we already have a craze for something larger than life.  Although for kids, it is to have control over their friends, to be the boss.  It is not a wonder that the so-called Power Blocs of developed countries are vying for making armaments, which could subdue the poorer countries.  I agree, it does give them huge interest in the political arena.  For man, that is the largest thing they can achieve in a life time.

Now coming back to our Superhero(s), I personally appreciate when they included the famous line, “With great power come great responsibilities”, in the Superhero movies.  It does teach us many things.  Although there is no such thing as Superhero, except for Samson.

It is a good way of teaching the children about responsibilities and the fruit of sin.

*Philistines, the enemy of the Israelites at that time. (Judges 16)

Fallen Leaf

 

We were strolling in the park nearby with my little ones.  A cool breeze was blowing unexpectedly in the evening.  Scorching heat of the sun was experienced throughout the day.  By the way, it might rain tomorrow.

Few days ago, my children came home from school.  He said, “Daddy, I bring some home work for you. ”  The assignment was to make symbolic bird’s nest for school activity.   It was indeed homework for parents as Pre-school children are not able to do nothing on their own.

fallen leaf on the ground
Fallen Leaf

Now, here in the park, we were searching for dry twigs and fallen leaves to make a symbolic bird’s nest for my children. My son refused to pick up some fallen leaves.  He told me that they were too new and looks so good to be picked up play with.  I told him that we need to pick them up as they cannot be put back in the branches.  “Oh!” he sighed.

While we were still under those trees, few leaves fall on the ground.  So my son was wondering, “Why are they falling down when they can be used by the tree?”

“The wind was blowing hard so they can’t stand the force,” I replied.

So we picked up the leaves, even the new leaves.  After all, they are fallen.  They are dead.

The process of photosynthesis was explained in its simplest terms.  And we talked about trees.  The importance of trees for clean air was reiterated.  Being responsible in our role and to live in harmony during our short span of life was also told.

The leaves, after they fell, are unable to perform their duties.  I told my children, “They did not travel.  They did not change places.  But still they have their given role.  They worked to sustain the life of the tree, where they grew.  They worked together responsibly.”

“When they move, they move together.  They did not complaint each other.  The green leaves look bright and happy, always.  They are shining because they are happy.”  I continued.

Yes, it might be simple and boring for adults.  But for children, they are in learning mode so they get attracted and learned the lessons in simple things too.  Many times, our life span was compared to the flowers, which dried up in the evening.

By now you must have known the reason I told this simple activity.  Living together responsibly and harmoniously is one among the essence of life.

You will always be mine

As a parent, I am not averse to mild physical punishment of children at home.  But it can be avoided or better still if it’s not necessary at all.  I hope we have our own view regarding it.  We can defend our own views too.  In that way, it depends on the one who use it and who don’t use it.

Years ago, I, unwillingly, had to administered the rod of discipline on my son for the first time.  All the negotiations had failed.  I had already told him if he didn’t abide with the authority (here the father i.e. me), physical punishment may ensue.

The case:  Playing time was over.  He demanded more.  It was time for just 10-15 minutes of learning.  He did not comply.  The authority was challenged.  If the authority can be surpassed every time, it’d had no meaning to its existence.  My son pleaded the wrong way, with crying and throwing the toys.  It was time to do something.

All possible efforts were done to let him know what he did was just wrong.  That is, to remain calm.  It was impossible to condone the situation.  So I administered what was promised, just two times.  He submitted himself right away.

I took him in my arms and held him tight.  We say prayer for forgiveness and ask God to help us in the future.  We acknowledge Him to be our witness.  And that, He bless our effort to be good and inculcate wisdom in the right way.  By the time we finished our prayer, we both said “Amen” in agreement.

My son said, “Papa, sorry!  I will be a good boy…” Tears of happiness ensued.  I gently rubbed his pain with my hands so that the pain might ease soon.   At the same time, I am comforting him.  Assuring him, whether good or bad he will always be mine.  I will always love him.  I also reminded him it was out of love, and it won’t happen again unless otherwise needed.   In a moment, both of us became happy.

By the way, we all need to know there is a higher authority in the society and in the world.  Those who can outrun authority from childhood are a menace to the society.  By the time they grow up, none can teach them the right way.  They cannot live responsibly in the realm of the society.  They have power within them, they thought.

It’s just that we needed to react in time.  Love can sometimes be painful though!

Dear son, I love you more.  You will always be mine!

*(This is written based on my journal some years ago.)