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by Wayne Holmes

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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.” For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures — for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. . . . And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28And we know that God causes everything to work together F35 for those for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:15-18, 26-28)

    Once I was with my children playing the game “Remember When.” Fond recollections of precious times came to mind, but one in particular has remained. It exemplified the tough love parents must have for their children.

    On that occasion, I had decided to build a play-set for the children. I settled on an elaborate system consisting of a platform, slide, sandbox, swings, overhead ladder, and a cargo net. In the course of construction, I made use of a double-sided thatching rake. Being pressed for time one evening, I left the rake outside while we went out to eat. Not having checked on my progress after school, when we arrived home from the restaurant, the kids wanted to have a look, even though it was already dark. Crystal and her brother Barcley jumped out of the car and ran into the backyard. Before we made it inside, Crystal returned. She looked up at me with a sad expression and calmly admonished me, “Dad, you should’ve put the rake away. If you had, I wouldn’t have stepped on it.”

    She spoke so softly, I had no clue she was hurt. As she finished her sentence, the corners of her mouth turned down, and she started to cry.

    “Crystal, let me look at your foot,” I said.

    Her toes were cut, and blood flowed freely. I rushed her inside. Her mother washed the toes, wrapped a cloth around them, and we drove Crystal to Children’s Hospital, where she received immediate attention. The deep cuts required stitches.

    “Daddy, stay with me,” Crystal said, between her sobs. “Don’t make me go in there alone.”

    With the doctor’s approval, I consented, though I’ve never been comfortable with the sights, sounds, and smells that accompany a hospital room.

    Going into the room was difficult enough, but the doctor insisted on my participation.

    “Hold her while I give her a shot,” he said.

    Guilt and remorse attacked as I approached my little girl.

Dear God, what have I done? I prayed as I walked to the front of the table. Not only have I caused my child to be hurt by not putting the rake away, but now I have to hold her down and make her suffer even more. Please help her, Lord-and help me too.

    I held Crystal’s slender shoulders, hoping the ordeal would be over as quickly as possible. I also hoped that she would forgive me — not only for my negligence but also for my part in causing her even more suffering.

    After enough time had elapsed for the painkiller to take effect, the doctor sewed, while I watched. A few stitches later, Crystal grabbed my arms with all her might and screamed loudly. Obviously the painkiller was having no effect and she felt the needle as it bored through her flesh. Surprised by Crystal’s reaction, the doctor stopped sewing.

    “The anesthesia must not have reached this area,” the doctor said. “I’ll have to give her another injection.”

    Crystal clutched me even tighter than before.

    “Daddy, make him stop! Please, Daddy, don’t let him hurt me,” she begged.

    A sense of helplessness flattened my spirit. My daughter was in severe pain and she looked to me to make it go away.

    But I didn’t make it go away! In fact, I even helped the doctor. My strong but quivering hands held my daughter firmly on the table, forcing her to let the doctor perform the surgery she needed.

    I wasn’t cruel to my daughter when I refused to intercede on her behalf. Though it broke my heart, and I wanted to make the doctor stop, what I allowed to happen was for her own good.

    This painful scene with Crystal screaming and pleading was a little more than I could handle. Of course, I did my best to be there emotionally for her until the ordeal was over, but as soon as the doctor finished, a queasiness floated to the surface of my consciousness.

    “Are you feeling all right?” the doctor asked me.

    “I feel a little lightheaded.”

    “Lie down,” he ordered.

    I became the center of attention, and Crystal seemed to enjoy the sudden change of events as I lay flat on my back, embarrassed, and concerned about my perceived manliness. Crystal seemed to forget about the ordeal she had just gone through. She couldn’t wait to see her mother to tell her, “Dad almost passed out.” The whole family enjoyed a good laugh at my expense.

If I am suffering, I can rest assured there is a reason for it.
    Playing the reminiscing game with my children that day gave me cause to reflect about some of the painful experiences in my own life. In the midst of situations that seemed too painful to live through, I’ve often cried out to my heavenly Father for help. “Please, dear God, make the pain go away! Make it stop!”

    At times it’s felt as if God not only permitted my pain but also held me down, forced me to suffer through it, and completely ignored my cries for help. The lesson I learned from Crystal teaches me that God does love me. If I am suffering, I can rest assured there is a reason for it.

    At times I become angry at God for saying no to my hurts, and for his refusing to intervene on my behalf. Just as Crystal’s pain was short-lived, so too is mine. Being able to laugh at her dad was certainly helpful, but even without my near fainting spell, the ordeal would’ve been forgiven and forgotten. She didn’t accuse me or ask me why I didn’t make the doctor stop. She trusted me-trusted that I had her best interest at heart.

    From this experience I learned that God is not my enemy. If he says no, he has his reasons. If he holds me, forces me to feel the pain, then he holds me with hands of love. With a heart that embraces me he sees the pain I’m going through. Crying out to him — even screaming for him to stop — is normal and acceptable. But I need to go one step further, and, in childlike faith, put my trust in him. He is, after all, a better father than I’ll ever be. He would never do anything that wasn’t in my own best interest.

 
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      © Excerpted with permission from The Heart of a Father, a compilation of great stories about fathers, edited by Wayne Holmes. Click here to buy this title online!

      Title: ""
      Author: Wayne Holmes
      Publication Date: June 11, 2003


 

 
 
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