Parental Advice…Who Needs It?

Photo credit here. 

S (Scripture): Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven and see, from your holy and glorious perch. Where are your energy and your might,
your concern and your pity?  Don’t hold back!
16 You are surely our father, even though Abraham doesn’t know us, and Israel doesn’t recognize us. You, Lord, are our father;
your reputation since long ago is that of our redeemer.
17 Why do you lead us astray, Lord, from your ways? Why do you harden our heart so we don’t fear you? Return for the sake of your servants
the tribes that are your heritage!
18 Why did the wicked bring down your holy place?  Why did our enemies trample your sanctuary?
19 For too long we have been like those you don’t rule, like those not known by your name.

O (Observation):  God’s people, in a time of great desperation and feeling abandoned by God, call out to God.  They have never known Abraham or Israel (Jacob) directly, yet they feel a great kinship to these legendary people of faith…like the Lord is still their mutual Father.   

Isaiah calls on God to uphold the reputation as their redeemer.  God’s people feel as if God has abandoned them.  What if perhaps God has let them rule themselves for a while…not abandoning them…simply letting them rule themselves for a bit.   Perhaps it would seem as if God abandoned them…but really God may have just been waiting for the invitation to rule this stubborn people again, once they’ve seen they cannot rule themselves.  

A (Application):   What does it take to tell your parents: “You were right”?   How much pride does one have to swallow before allowing the parents’ wisdom to sink in?   

About 19 years, in my case : )  Now, don’t get me wrong…I obeyed my parents and I’m the goody-goody…but I also resisted much of the advice of my parents, until I was about 19…and a junior at Georgia Tech.  

My parents love me and raised me right.   They brought me to a faith community in the two main places I grew up: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, and All Saints Lutheran Church, Lilburn, GA.   In those places, my faith was shaped and developed.  I entered many sacred spaces via these faith communities, and I learned a lot about how good and how destructive faith communities might be.  

In all, I learned of God’s favor, and I learned how to listen to God’s callings in my life.  

But until I was 19, I didn’t really, truly appreciate what my parents had to teach me about money and independent living.  I racked up lots of debt and I’m sure it tortured my parents to watch that.   But they knew I had to go and venture out.  Their wisdom was that I would need to venture out and explore how to apply my upbringing into my own independent living.  

I finally accepted and appreciated more and more of their advice.  They never abandoned me…they simply let me embrace my independence.   I realized, though, that I would never be truly independent from them, since I carry my upbringing with me and their wisdom, wherever I go.   Our memories we have made, and the memories we have still yet to make, will be treasured in my heart.  

And now, my wife and I hope to pass on our faith and wisdom to our children.   Let’s see how long it takes them to appreciate whatever wisdom we have collected and now are blessed to pass on : )

P (Prayer):  Lord, you never abandon us…help us to see your presence all around us.  Amen.  

Isn’t it Ironic?

S (Scripture): John 4:42 The Samaritans said to the (Samaritan) woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.”

O (Observation): Jesus Christ had such an impact on the Samaritan woman, that she comes to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then, she goes back to her own people, and shares this Good News of Jesus Christ, who can providing water that will quench thirst forever.

The woman with whom Jesus spoke became His advocate. This is the introduction to faith in Jesus, for the Samaritans.

And ironically, this scene begins part of the fulfillment of some words found earlier in this Gospel: John 1:11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.

And who did receive him? The Gentiles/Samaritans. Ironic.

A (Application ): I can’t tell you how many times I blew off my parents’ advice. I can find my own way, thank you very much. I know better. I got this.

Sometimes we step out and learn on our own. Make mistakes, and hopefully learn. (And then later on, we regret that we hadn’t listened to our parents in the first place : )

Jesus wasn’t about to make anyone believe in him, not even his own people. He was simply going to do God’s will, which included sharing the Good News of forgiveness, grace, and love, that God extends to ALL people. So he had a conversation with a person who was outside the culturally accepted norm, and she came to believe.

Like a child not wanting the parents’ advice, most of Jesus’ own (i.e. the Jewish people) did not want to to hear that forgiveness was available to ALL people. All who believe are accepted.

Some of Jesus’ own came around, but he wasn’t concerned with winning them all over. He entrusted his disciples to the work of witnessing and healing and teaching.

And so we Dig Daily into Scripture. We listen for what God is saying to us at this moment. We seek to do God’s will. And we share this gift even if it’s just with one person at the watering hole. You never know with whom they’ll share the story and who might come to believe.

P (Prayer): Lord, I thank you for my parents who passed on the faith to me, but also who showed me how to embrace forgiveness and equality for all. Amen.