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This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Six)

If you have not read the previous entries in this article you can catch up here.

Part Six

Elijah asleep with Mr Bear

Shortly before one of my nieces turned one her mother announced that whipping season was about to be open. The mother, my sister, was totally joking but it brings up an interesting question. When are you children too young to be corrected? When are your children to young to be spanked?

Have you ever heard parents complain about how their children turned out? Do you think it is possible they bear some responsibility for their children grow up? I think it a lot of cases they do. It is not that they do not want to train their children. It is because they do not want to hurt their children either physically or emotionally. To feel better in the short term they risk the long term.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

  Proverbs 19:18 KJV

When Elijah was just a month old he had his first doctor visit. It was time for him to get a shot. Tracy was on one side of the room. I was with the doctor. My job was to hold him still while the doctor gave the shot. It was not an easy job for me to look down at the beautiful baby boy my wife and I had waited so long for and hold him down while someone hurt him. But I did the job. Of course the minute the needle broke his skin he began to cry.

I am sure the doctor did not like making Elijah cry. I did not like hearing him cry, especially since I was the one to hold him down. Mommy did not like hearing him cry either. In fact when I looked at her she had a tear or two running down her face.

Everyone in the room, with the exception of Elijah, of course, understood that what we were doing we were doing to save him something that would hurt him more. Parents cannot afford to take the short view on shots. They hurt your child but it is truly for their benefit. Discipline them well whether they cry or not.

Elijah getting his first hair cut from his Uncle Mark

When parents refuse to discipline their children because they cry they are putting those same children at risk. Children need to be taught about boundaries. They need to be taught about consequences. They need to learn to respect authority. If we fail to teach them these things we risk not only their lives but their souls because they may form their view of who God is based in part of their view of who their parents are.

Some parents believe they cannot discipline their children because they love their children too much. I disagree. The lack of discipline is the result of too much love but it is not the case of a parent loving a child too much. It is the case of a parent loving himself or herself too much. We do not want to have to go through the pain of hurting our child. That is selfishness.  What we are really saying is we cannot stand to hear them cry.

Children will grow up to have lots of friends. Your job as a parent is not to be a friend. It is to be a parent. That means you have to correct your children for their own good. Too many parents want to lay down the job of parenting and be a friend instead. Sometimes it hurts to be a parent.

Parents used to say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you!” Kind of makes you wonder how many children volunteered to switch places does it not? When Elijah came along I understood what the parents meant at least. It hurts me when I have to discipline Elijah. But I love him so I will put up with that broken expression and those little tears for his own good.

When the Children Cry (Part 12, Conlusion)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

Job 1:8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 1:20-22 KJV

If ever anyone has had a reason to complain about suffering and ask why it was Job.  By the admission of God himself said he was a perfect man and upright. In other words he was a good man. This is not to say he was equal to God in his righteousness. God was saying there were none like him in all the earth. He was the best that was alive at the time.

Because of the way Job lived and the way God blessed him. Satan hated Job. He accused Job of loving God only because God blessed him.  If God would take away the blessings Job would curse him.

God agreed to let Satan take things away from Job to prove that Job was faithful.  Eventually God allowed Satan to take Job’s wealth, his children and his health. Job did not curse God though.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 1:20-22 KJV

Then things got even worse. Three of Job’s friends showed up and began to accuse him of having some secret sin. Despite Job’s protests of innocence they continued to accuse.

Sometimes when we see people having a particularly bad time we might have the tendency to do a little accusing ourselves. We may not do it openly but we may do it nonetheless. We need to remember Job. If there is no evidence someone has a sin in their life we don’t need to assume it must be there because they are suffering. It wasn’t the case with Job.

We also need to remember not to accuse ourselves unjustly. It might be that God is punishing us and it might not be.  If he is punishing us surely he will let us know why though. The object of punishment is not to harm the child of God but to correct a bad behavior. If God doesn’t let us know what the bad behavior is, however, it is not going to have much effect is it?  Just I would never punish Elijah and not tell him what he had done wrong. Sometimes it is just the way things go.

A few more points to remember about Job. One of the things we know about him was he was constantly praying for his children. Satan did not like that in Job and he won’t like it in you either but if you find yourself in a trial don’t turn from God when you need him most.  Just crawl up in his lap like Elijah does mine when he is hurting. I may not be able to do much for Elijah but God can do a lot for you.

Just as problems in our lives my  not always be a direct result of our sin we need to remember our blessings may not be a result of our attempts to live righteously.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:45 KJV

These rambling thoughts may or may not have helped you to understand but remember one thing. God is Holy. If He is allowing or causing something to happen his motives are Holy. We may not understand it but God is not required to explain everything to us is he?  He also has a reason which we may not understand either. It is our job to praise him the good times and the bad. It is our job to treasure each day like it is our last and remember:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV

And when we think that no one, not even God understands your pain when you watch your child suffer, remember Calvary. There God’s son suffered and all he could do was watch. To make things worse He had the ability to stop the suffering, to show mercy to his son. But if he had shown mercy to his Son on Calvary he would have condemned us.  Giving mercy to Jesus would have ended any mercy for us.

We should also remember that God not only had to watch Jesus suffer. God the Father caused Jesus to suffer!

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32 KJV

Thank you God for loving me. I may not always understand you and I may not always serve you the way I should but as the four beasts in heaven cry out so do I, “Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth!”

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When The Children Cry (Part Eleven)

If you have missed the earlier entries in this article click here .

Part Eleven

Like many of you I was tempted to ask why me? Or more properly why us? Had we done something wrong? Not only to cause such a rough delivery but also to have to wait so long for a child in general?

The whole process was hard but perhaps the hardest part was the wondering why we were being punished. I am not claiming to know the mind of God. I am not even going to say we were being punished. I am saying it felt that way. It was not just the rough delivery that made me wonder. It was the fact that we had gone so long, waited so long and so badly wanted a child but God never sent one.

I looked around and saw all kinds of people having children. There were drug addicts who had no problem having kids.  Fourteen year old girls were having babies.  People who didn’t believe in God were having babies. In short, people who were not even trying to do right were having babies. In fact, in a lot of cases people who were doing absolutely evil things were having babies.

People try to guess whether he has my nose or Tracy's. I don't know. I do know he shares our sinful nature though.

By contrast Tracy and I were trying to do right. We went to church every Sunday. In fact I was the pastor.  We tithed. We helped people wherever we could. We were doing what we could to be good Christians. Were we perfect? No but we seemed to be a lot better than the people God was giving babies too. But no baby came.

I would love to tell you I found the answer. Truth is I don’t know why. But I have some ideas.

The first thing to remember is that Tracy and I are sinners. When you think about why you have to go through the things you do in life you need to remember that you are too. Sadly, so are your children if you have any.  In fact, when we go through problems it might be more reasonable to ask, “Why not me?” After all, there are none of us who suffer more than we deserve. In fact, in this life few or us suffer as much as we deserve. God is not only merciful he is long-suffering.

This is not to say there might not be others who deserve to suffer more than we do. There are. But there are also people suffering who deserve it less than we do. We should just be thankful that we don’t suffer as much as we really deserve! We all deserve death according to the scripture.

So how does all this affect why some people suffer more than others? Had Tracy and I done something that caused us to suffer or were we suffering just because of our human nature?

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

When bad things come our way we would do well to remember this. In both these cases Jesus points out that there was no special cause of the fact that these people had died. Rather it was just part of the natural human condition.

As part of the natural human condition people get sick. People suffer. People die. If you faced suffering with your children, maybe there was no special cause.  Maybe there was nothing either you or your spouse did.

I love him so much I hate to think of him suffering. But it has happened already and will happen again.

The important thing is not whether these things will happen in our lives. They will certainly happen to us too.  Even the rich and the powerful have these things happen to them. It’s not a matter of money.  Job stated flatly that man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. There was so much truth in this statement, so much revelation that God made sure we were left a record of this short but profound summary of the lives of men.

Jesus in these verses reminded us that we need to be ready for when the trouble does come.  To be ready He says we must repent, that is we must be born again. This birth is not the one all of us get when we come into the world.  In 1st John God tells us that this birth is not of the blood (that is the blood of our fathers and mothers), nor of the will of men (the desire of our fathers and mothers for children) but of God himself. In like fashion Jesus told us that we must be born of the Spirit. This is the new birth.

This birth makes you the son or daughter of God. Because we are the sons of men we suffer but when we become a child of God we are promised that this suffering is only temporary. There is coming a day when former things, all the curses of this world and our much deserved suffering, will pass away and we will enter a place where everything is a blessing and nothing is a curse. What Adam lost for us Jesus is going to give back. But only if you have been born again.

In the next section we consider Job and his losses.

When The Children Cry (Part Eight)

If you haven’t been following this article you can begin at the beginning Here.

So are their particular causes for why children suffer? This is important to know because if there are then we can avoid doing things that cause our children to suffer! I will look at a few

When A Nation Rejects God The Children Suffer

In 2010, shortly after Elijah was born, I took a mission trip to Africa. Making that trip was hard. When the trip had been planned we didn’t even know we were expecting. By the time we did know I was committed. Some people might question how or why I would leave my wife and a child who was barely over a month old to travel to not only another country but another continent.  The short answer is God sent me. I had to go because it is what he wanted. In fact, I was afraid not to go. Knowing that God does indeed visit the sins of the father on the sins of the children I was afraid if I did not go something could happen to my child. After all if God tells me to do something and I don’t isn’t that sin? But does God really do that?

Did the fact Africa rejected God cause this?

I believed he does. I still believe he does. What I saw in Africa confirmed my belief. You have no doubt seen the pictures of African children suffering. You have no doubt seen the commercials asking you to give a dollar a day to help the poor starving children. I did not see starving children when in Africa but I sure did see some suffering children and poverty. In particular I remember the case of one young girl who came to our hotel.  We were getting ready to leave and had some kool-aid  packs we had been adding to our water. We weren’t going to need them anymore so we gave them to her. She lost them when the power went out in our hotel that night. This girl, who was ten to twelve years old wept! She was so poor that we take for granted here in the US was a precious treasure to her. Why does God allow that to happen?

While in Africa, we were in Ghana, I noticed some things besides the poverty. Everywhere we went businesses there were a lot of businesses named after Christian principles. For example, there might have been a Jesus Saves Hair Salon or I Love Jesus Refreshments. This was not an isolated event. It was everywhere. The pastor we were working with, Brother Samuel, was a native to Ghana. He explained that the people were very superstitious. Christianity was not very old in Ghana. When it was introduced into Ghana the people embraced the idea of Jesus but not everything he taught. Instead they kept a lot of their ideas from the native African religions and tried to meld them into Christianity.

Before Christianity had been introduced the people were completely pagan in their worship. This was not just the case in Ghana it was all over Africa. The people of Africa had rejected the true God and replaced him with a myriad of others. Is it any wonder then that God had left them to suffer through so much? Had he not threatened to destroy, and in some cases carried out that threat, in the Bible?

This is not to say that Africa was alone in doing this. In the late 1700s Europe began a process of doing the same thing. America is doing the same thing now. We are beginning to see the fruits of this right now as poverty increases in this country. God help us to see the error of our ways and repent.

When The Parents Reject God The Children Suffer

Lord help me to live my life in such a way as to secure blessings for Elijah, to teach him to love you and not despise you.

The Bible illustrates this pattern very well in the example of a man named Achan. Achan has sinned. In the end he, his wife and his children all paid the price because Achan had sinned. You can read the story in the seventh chapter of Joshua. This story should scare every father out there. Don’t be an Achan.

God by nature wants to bless mankind but when mankind has rejected God he withholds his blessings. Those missed blessings affect the children. One of the greatest blessings God has given us is answered prayers. But how many parents live a life without Him until their child is sick. They spend a lifetime rejecting God then wonder why he doesn’t answer their prayers. When God withholds his blessings he often sends judgement instead. Those judgements may affect or even be directed at the children.God help me that I live my life in such a way that it secures blessings for Elijah and not judgement.

When The Children Reject God They Suffer

The family itself is another blessing God has given. The purpose of the family is to give God honor. The means to doing so is to treat the children not as belonging to us but as lent to us. They are God’s heritage not ours. Because they belong to God we must raise them as He would have them raised. We must train them to respect and love God. When we fail to do so we endanger the children. How many parents have failed to live righteously before their children, failed to pray with them and for them and rarely if ever taken them to church then question how their child turned out the way they did? I guess God really did mean we should train them up in the way they should go. How many parents have spoiled their kids rotten then wondered how they ended up with rotten kids. I guess God really did intend for us to correct them often. And remember if you didn’t do your job as a parent you didn’t love them right. You may have loved them, don’t get me wrong, but the greatest love you could have had for them was to teach them God’s way by example and word.

 

 

 

When The Children Cry (Part Seven)

If you have missed the earlier sections of When the Children Cry you can either catch up using the categories on the right or click here.

In When the Children Cry Part Six I began to discuss the fact that even children are sinners. If this is the case then they suffer because of their sins just like the rest of us. But is it so?

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalms 51:5 KJV

In this verse David is not discussing his mother’s actions but rather is declaring the from the beginning of his existence he was a sinner. How deep this depravity is seen here in David’s lament about his enemies:

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Psalms 58:3 KJV

But do only the wicked come forth speaking lies? Or do all of us have the same tendency? Maybe a better question is who are the wicked and who are the righteous? The Bible says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). So we see from these few verses, and their are other proofs, that our children are sinners from the beginning.

I know its kind of hard to believe because they look so helpless and innocent but our experience with them, if we are honest, proves they are. How many times have we heard our children cry like they are dying only to have them immediately stop when we give them what they want. How often have told them no and watched them look us right in the face as they did exactly what we told them not to do. Of course the minute we get up to correct them they run. They knew they were doing wrong. But is that a sin? The Bible teaches us to honor our father and mother does it not?

I want to take a little side trip in this discussion right now before you get the wrong idea about children. The Bible does teach they are sinners but it also teaches that they are not held completely accountable the moment they are born. Their bodies may suffer but their souls are secure. When David lost his child, for example, he did not worry that his child was in hell. Instead he promised that he (David) would go to be with the child.

Be that as it may I think we can all agree children are just little sinners and that God is not unrighteous to allow them to suffer. He takes not pleasure in their suffering though! The Bible says he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. These wicked are not those who are born with a wicked (sinful) nature but those who are pursuing a life of wickedness. If he takes no pleasure in their suffering we can be certain he takes no pleasure in the suffering of our children. In fact, God hates to see the little children suffer.

Still their are suffering children in the world. It hurts us when we it but it happens. Here in America it’s not as bad. But what about Africa? And if sin is the overarching cause of that suffering are their more specific causes? I will look into that in the When The Children Cry (Part Eight).

The Weekend Is Here!

This weekend I am going to revival in Indy. A good friend of mine is helping in the revival. His mother, who is also a good friend, will be there as well. Looking forward to a good service in the Lord.

Sunday, which is a day of rest for most people, is my busiest day of the week. Normally I teach one Sunday school lesson and preach two sermons every Sunday. This Sunday is no exception. We are also having a baptism this week. I get to baptize a young lady who is like one of my own children! What a blessing. Please pray for these services and all the services where people are trying to serve the Lord.

Because of my schedule I probably will not be doing much blogging this weekend. Thanks to those who have stopped by, followed me and commented. This is my first real week of blogging and I have discovered it is hard work. I am enjoying putting my thoughts down though. I just have to resist my greatest hindrance when it comes to writing. I have a compulsive desire to go back and rewrite everything. Over and over! I am trying to approach this differently though and do minimal editing. So if things seem a little less than fluid or perfect I apologize.

My purpose in this blog is to write down all my thoughts on the subject of parenting and then go back and reorganize them into a publishable form. I pray the Lord gives me the staying power to get the job done. I ask your prayers too.

Thanks again if you are reading this! If you can follow me and leave some comments. You can discuss the post or criticize my style and content. I don’t care. I appreciate good criticism.

May God richly bless you not only today but forever!

When The Children Cry (Part Six)

In When The Children Cry Part Five I said we would talk about how it was fair for the God to condemn every man, woman and child for the disobedience of one man. To do that I need you to answer some questions for yourself. Have you sinned? Does that make you a sinner? What evidence can you provide that you would have done any different if you had been Adam or Eve?

Years ago my cousin’s son said the first thing he was going to do when he got to heaven was kick Adam’s butt. It’s natural to blame Adam for everything that is going wrong in the world today. He started it. But is it fair?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Matthew 23:34-35 KJV

In this passage Jesus is talking to men who were born hundreds if not thousands of years after the murders he says they would bear the responsibility for. Talk about an accessory after the fact!

Why did Jesus say they were responsible though? To understand that you have to understand to whom he was speaking. He was speaking to people who had rejected his message. They had rejected him as Messiah. They had rejected him as the Christ. They had rejected him as the Son of God. Because they rejected Jesus, who was the one who was greater than Moses, said they would have rejected Abel and Zacharias too. In essence he was telling them they would have done the same thing and because they would have done the same thing they were just as guilty as if they had done the actual killing. They had the motive they just did not have the opportunity.

There is something about the judicial system here in America that has always confused me. If you murder someone you get charged with murder. If you try to kill someone and fail you get charged with attempted murder. The penalty for murder is more severe than that for attempted murder. Why? Both people may have had the same motive, and they may have had the same weapon even, but the guy who does not get the job done gets less of penalty? In their hearts they were both going to murder someone. One guy just failed to get the job done.

God does not look at that way though. He looks at what was going on in our hearts. He knows that no matter which of us had been placed in the Garden each of us would have ended up making the same decision. We would have all sinned. So yes it is perfectly fair that we all live in a sin-cursed world.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23 KJV

We should also consider this fact, we are all sinners. What is the penalty for sin? It is death. Not only are we dying this world is dying around us. It is cursed for not only Adam’s sake but for ours as well. Unfortunately that curse also falls on our children.

When the Children Cry (Part Five)

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:7 KJV

                                                                  Bad Daddy

Between our dining room and the kitchen we have a baby gate. Even with all the safety devices on cabinet doors Tracy and I prefer that Elijah not wander around in the kitchen. Perhaps part of this can be explained by an experience some dear friends had. The Lord had truly blessed them and their quiver was full. They had two toddlers and an infant all at the same time. One day momma went into the kitchen to find their oldest was having a snack. She was eating macaroni and cheese…out of the trash. Maybe that is part of the reason we have a baby gate to keep Elijah out of the kitchen.

We are currently remodeling our house slowly. Mainly we are doing it slowly because I am a procrastinator. If I had not mentioned that I meant to I was just putting it off a little bit. Because we are remodeling the house my office and computer are in the kitchen. Fortunately our kitchen has a built in desk.

Lots of times when I am at my desk working (okay I’m playing sometimes, you busted me!) Elijah will come waddling up to the gate. More often than not he has a toy or something else in his hand. I guess he must be a normal boy because he seems to really love throwing his toy or whatever is in his hand over the gate. As soon as he throws it, or sometimes before he throws it, he yells “Uh oh!”

As you can imagine my wife and I have tried to discourage this behavior. One day he comes up to the gate and looks at me. I can see it in his eyes. He is going to throw it. I tell him not to. I tell him very firmly not to throw that toy over the gate. He throws it and yells, “Uh oh!” I immediately come out of my chair calling his name. He does an abrupt about face and runs off in that cute way that babies do. All the while he is running he is yelling, “Uh oh!” Bad Daddy had come out.

Doing my best not to laugh I went and got him and we had a little talk. When I told everyone else the story I did not bother to try to keep back my laughter.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8 KJV

When Adam heard that voice he had us “uh oh” moment. Running was not going to do him any good though. Now here is something you might not have known about Adam. He was a sharing person. That is when he had his uh oh moment he shared it with all of us. We are still having that uh oh moment in this world today.

Consider some of the things that took place because Adam did not obey God. These are the things enumerated in Genesis Chapter 3

  • Women bring forth children in sorrow
  • A woman is subject to her husband
  • The Ground is cursed for man’s sake
  • Thorns and thistles come forth
  • Work is no longer a pleasure it is work. It became by the sweat of the brow
  • He no longer had access to the Tree of Life
  • He was kicked out of the Garden of Eden

Some would ask why Adam did not die. God said he would. The short answer is he did. His inner being was now dead. It died and was no longer alive unto God. The body was going to catch up too though. In fact it was already on the way to catching up. Before he sinned Adam was capable of living forever. I don’t even think he aged. After he sinned every moment he lived was one less moment he was going to live. Every moment he got a little older and we all know what happens when you get older. You get those aches in places that you didn’t even know you had places.

As I said Adam did just ruin it for himself though. He ruined it for all of us too! Some would say that is not fair that one man ruined it for all of us. I disagree with that idea. You may rebel at the idea that one person ruined it for all of us but remember that one person, Jesus Christ,  also restored it for all who believe.

In the next Part we will demonstrate that God is fair and that everyone of us would have done the same thing Adam did.

When The Children Cry (Part Four)

Thanks for stopping by. This is Part Four of an article called when the Children Cry. If you have not read parts one through three click here.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:17 KJV

God gave us boundaries for our own good

God had only one rule for Adam. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It should have been easy for him to keep. He had plenty of other trees to eat from. It is not like he was starving to death. But even that one law was too much for him to follow. You can debate why Adam decided to do what he did. There may be multiple answers but in the end there is one answer that is at the foundation. Pride. He had heard what God said. He had no reason to doubt what God said but maybe he doubted that God could carry out what he had said. Maybe he doubted God’s word. Adam, at the root, thought he knew what was better for himself than God did.

So he ate of the fruit and when he did he found himself in a whole new world. In one sense the promise of the serpent, who said they would be as Gods, was true.  Adam had created a whole new world. Well, maybe created is not the right word. He had taken a world that was ideally suited for him and created a wold of problems. The world that had once worked with him would now work against him.

The world was not the only problem though. Before he had eaten the fruit he and God had walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. Can you imagine that?  Eve asks Adam, “Honey, where are you going?” Adam answers, “It’s time for my walk with God.” Can you imagine the joy? Not just the joy Adam felt but the joy God felt!

Elijah is happy baby, most of the time. Of course he has his moments when he’s not but for the most part he is laughing and smiling. He normally smiles at everyone! But Tracy says he has a special smile for me. At some point before he could walk but after he could crawl he developed a habit. If he saw me go outside he would go to the bannister at the stairs. We of course had a gate to keep him from going down the stairs. There at the bannister he would yell for me, not a crying type yell but the kind of yell babies make to get your attention before they have learned to use words. The smile and the reaction I would get are so precious. Even today, when the door opens he will run to the bannister and yell “Daddy!” He’s glad to see me and I am glad to see him. I imagine Adam and God felt much the same way when they shared their walk in the garden.

When Adam took that bite it was over.

One day Tracy, Elijah and I were out at my mom and dad’s for our biweekly family gathering. My niece Alexia, who was and is adjusting to no longer being the only child in her family, was doing something her mother told her not to do. My sister took her for a little walk to the bedroom. As you might imagine neither mommy nor Alexia were very happy. While the two were in the other room I could hear my sister explaining that Alexia needed to listen or some such thing. Then it got kind of quiet. All of a sudden I heard Alexia cry out in that voice that is half-way between crying and talking, “Bad mommy!”

I thought I would die laughing. Here was my sister telling my niece why she was in trouble and I was just certain Alexia was accusing her of being a bad mommy. It’s just like something she would do. She is a sharp little five year old and can really crack you up! She is also very sweet, praying for the babies in mommy and Tracy’s bellies and taking the time at the hospital one night that to tell me she loved Tracy, and Elijah and me. This without prompting.

When my sister came back into the living room we, my brother and I, had to tease her a little bit about being a bad mommy. It’s a long standing tradition because she is the baby of the family and that is what older brothers do. I try to be careful, however, not to contradict her parenting. She is mommy and I am uncle. It’s her job to discipline her child not mine. This doesn’t mean if I thought she was making a very serious mistake I would not talk to her about it. However, I would not talk to her about it in front her daughter or any one else for that matter. Some matters need to be handled privately. I have never seen the need to have one of those talks though.

After we teased her a little she explained that during her little talk she asked Alexia what happened when she was bad. The answer was bad mommy. Alexia had not been calling her mother a bad mommy she had been answering her question. Evidently bad mommy is a code word for if you keep it up you are going to get into trouble.

Look for my next post when I find Bad Daddy…

 

When the Children Cry (Part Three)

In the previous blogs on this subject, When the Children Cry, I opened a discussion on why children have to suffer. In Part One I discussed the fact that children do indeed suffer including some specific cases I have heard of. In Part Two I reminded everyone that the world we live in today is not the same as the one God created for man. That world was perfect without sorrow or suffering. In this section I will discuss why the world is the way it is today and who really caused it to happen. If you would like to read those sections click here.

When God created the Garden of Eden everything in it was good. It had a purpose. It was perfectly suited to its purpose. It carried out its purpose. This included the first man and woman ever created, Adam and Eve. Unfortunately Adam and Eve were not satisfied with what God had given them. They decided to try it their own way despite the warnings that God gave them and the wonderful relationship they had not only with their environment but God himself.

Besides myself, Tracy and Elijah we have a rabbit. This rabbit does not live outside. It is a house bunny. Just in case you didn’t know bunnies make great house pets! Our particular bunny is named Sydney.

When Elijah decided to get up and start walking, really when he was only crawling I guess, we knew we had to keep him from driving Sydney crazy. Not only did we need to keep him from driving her crazy we were afraid he might poke his hands into her house and get nipped. (Sydney does not have a cage, she has a “house” because if we tell her its a cage it might hurt her feelings. Don’t ask me. Ask Tracy.) Sydney is not a biter but she has been known to take a nip to get your attention.

Also we did not want Elijah to stick his fingers in and hurt Sydney by poking her in the eye. This might not be a reasonable fear but I am always paranoid about little children being too rough with pets.

To prevent this we use Elijah’s toy boxes and a toy car garage to keep him separate from Sydney’s house. We have told him often not to try to get to Sydney’s house. We are not trying to be mean to him. We are not even trying to keep him completely separate from Sydney. In fact, when we let her out, we let him help corral her into the bedroom where she spends her free time. We are trying to keep both he and Sydney safe. It’s for their own good.

One day I was home with Elijah and in the other room. I was putting some laundry in the washer or something like that when I heard a cry. I ran back into the living room and found Elijah laying completely stretched out on one of the toy boxes, his little arms and legs flailing while I looked up at me with a pitiful expression and tears rolled down his face. He had been doing what I told him not to do and it did not work out very well for him. I couldn’t help but laugh though. He looked like a little turtle caught on a rock whose feet wouldn’t touch the ground and found himself stuck. Of course I picked him up and caressed him. I was sure he had learned his lesson and would not do that again!

I was wrong, of course. A few weeks later I was again at home with Elijah and I was in the other room again and guess what he did? You know it. I heard the cry and went to check and there he was in the toy box again. This time, however, his foot was stuck in the toys and he was trying to pull himself out while he cried. Maybe it was cruel but I had my cell phone on me so I snapped a pic before I got him out.

It is very frustrating when either my wife or I try to tell Elijah something and he does not listen. Of course he’s young so this is not surprising but it’s still frustrating. Everything we tell him not to do is for his own good. Everything we tell him to do is for his own good, at least as far as we can know. Of course parents have been doing this for a long time with similar results.

When I was young my parents had a lot of rules. I thought some of them were stupid. Honestly, I thought my parents were kind of stupid but the older I got the wiser they got.  I have talked to a lot of people my age and older and found out they felt the same way about their parents and came to the same conclusions. Of course this is not the case every time but if you are a young person thinking you know everything remember the generation before you felt the same way. And the generation before that. And so on and so forth all the way back to the first child, Adam. Maybe you are the exception. I doubt it though.

My wife and I were having lunch with one of the church members one Sunday at her house. She had a teen-age daughter. Because she had a teen-age daughter she also had a magnet on her refrigerator that I will never forget. It simply said, “Move out now while you still know everything.” How apt for teenagers and a lot of others too. It applied to Adam as well. Even though God gave him everything he needed, he decided to move out of God’s will. He also moved out of God’s protection.

In Part Four we will examine both how he moved out and what happened when he did.