by Pastor Tim Burt
Renee and I have a daughter and three sons. They all graduated from college, met their spouse, got married, and had children. Of course Renee and I are thankful beyond words for God’s grace in helping us to get to this place in life today. It wasn’t easy. Raising children is incredibly hard work. Helping them stay focused in their relationship with God and toward goals was not a cake-walk. Kids put pressure on marriage. Renee and I had to learn to navigate the stress that comes with children. By God’s grace, we did and the outcome was worth the effort.
Our goal was to teach and help them to make good decisions along the way so that when they became adults, we could pull back and let them lead their own lives. We knew that as we did this and did not interfere, our friendship with them would grow and our parenting would slowly end. We turned them back over to God. We had raised them the best we could. Now they belonged to Him.
We are so thankful that as adults, we all have such a sincere love for each other. We love that they figured out the didn’t need to learn everything the hard way. Do you know how sweet it is to hear the words, Dad… Mom… I’ve got this situation and here is how I am thinking about handling it—what do you think? That kind of exchange blesses us more than we can tell you. We never wanted to tell them what to do with their life. We only wanted to help them avoid pitfalls or give him a simple suggestion if it would help them. Respecting them and their lives and not interfering in their decisions helped our relationship become intimate and wonderful,
I sincerely believe that God wants this kind of intimate and communicative relationship with us—where we look to Him for His wisdom and help. God does not want to intimidate us. Nor does he want us to lower Him to a buddy friendship. He wants that intimate and delicate Father/child relationship where we respect Him as Almighty God while understanding that He is our God but also our loving Father. When I read about Daniel, it’s how I view his relationship with God.
Daniel was a brilliant man who was well-educated in secular things, but also in the things of God. As a young man he was taken captive as slave by the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar. Over time, he was promoted all the way to second in command. He got there because of his knowledge and trust in God, his mature godly character, his ability, and God’s grace.
Daniel had become a man of great knowledge, great wisdom, and great inner strength. He was surrounded by jealous subordinates continually plotting to take him out. They didn’t see Daniel as one of them. He was an outsider. Because of Daniels great ability and inward strength, he could have easily become prideful and exercised his power to have them executed. It didn’t happen. Daniel was not prideful or manipulative despite the evil of those around him. He trusted God and did only what was right. He was always one to converse with the Lord about everything.
The devil was working through evil men trying to take Daniel out. They flattered the King treating him like a god and getting the King to sign off on a decree that no one could bow down to anyone except the king. That didn’t change Daniel. Daniel respected the King but knew that God alone was God. He would not follow this decree. He bowed only to God. So when this decree happened, Daniel simply did what he always had done—gone to the his Heavenly Father on his knees for wisdom and help to walk out what was before him.
Daniel 6:10 NIV says, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published (about bowing only to the king), he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” That didn’t magically make everything in life alright just because Daniel prayed and did what was right. To the contrary, it made the devil mad and those being used of the devil mad. They tried to stir up trouble for Daniel. But ultimately, because of this close intimate relationship with God, Daniel trusted and knew God would watch over him. And God did just that—time and time again.
I think if you look back in your life, you will hopefully see that God has watched over you and helped you time and time again. That’s because He loves you as a Father! As Romans 8:15 (NLT) says, “So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.”
You’ve probably also learned that God doesn’t work like a mythical genie. God does things His way and in His time to fulfill His plan (while blessing you), but most importantly, He is a Father who really does love His children. He loves you. He wants to be that Father to you! I love when my children pull on me and I believe God loves it when we have faith and trust in Him. And pull on Him.
Proverbs 23:22 NLT “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother’s experience when she is old.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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