Jun12TueJune 12, 2012
He deserved the “Father of the Year” award. Because he was a man of great wealth, he was able to provide generously for his seven sons and three daughters. His integrity and devotion to God were known throughout the land of Uz. He was widely respected, a man of great influence. Without a doubt, he was a fine role model for his children.
In time, the children grew up and left home. They were happy individuals who liked to celebrate and enjoy life. The brothers would take turns hosting a party and invite their sisters to join them in these festivities.
Back home, their father’s heart was burdened for his children. No longer were they under his supervision. He could not monitor their activities nor direct their choices. Perhaps, he thought, they have been carried away by their partying, and grieved God.
But there was one thing he could do. Early in the morning he would rise and sacrifice a burnt offering on behalf of each of his children. “…This was Job’s regular custom.” (Job 1:5)
In the gospel of Luke we read about a father who had two sons. One day the younger son said to his father:
“Father, give me my share of the estate.” Luke 15:12 (NIV)
So the father gave him his portion and, soon after, the son gathered together his belongings and “set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke 15:13 (NIV)
Helpless, the father watched his son depart on a foolish course. In our minds we can see him wrestling with the hard questions. Where had he gone wrong? Had he been too hard on him? Had he been too permissive, or too occupied with his own cares and interests? He was not perfect, he had made mistakes.
But although his heart was heavy, yet he never lost hope. And one day that hope was fulfilled, the son “came to his senses.” (Luke 15:17 NIV) With open arms and a heart full of compassion the father welcomed his son’s return.
As parents we do our best to provide for our children’s physical needs. We encourage them to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, all too soon they grow up and leave our care. Will they remember what they were taught? Will they choose their friends and companions wisely? On life’s freeway, where white and black have subtly blended into a murky gray, will they choose the narrow, or will they travel the broad way?
No longer are we able to protect them from evil and harmful influences. The time has come to let them go. But, like the father of the prodigal son, we can keep our arms open and look for their homecoming. And, like Job, we can intercede for our children, and make this our “... regular custom.” Job 1:5 (NIV)