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Absalom attacked David and his armies. David sent his troops out to repel the attack, but with strange orders. As the lines of fierce armed men marched out the gates of Mahanaim, I can see David grab the arm and look into the eyes of each officer pleading, Be careful for my son. Win the battle, but please be careful. He is my boy.
Grief over his dead son. But even more grief over the regrets of a guilty father.|
We reluctantly leave the scene for now, to backtrack and review: How did David get here? We must know so we dont wind up here ourselves.
Davids sad end is likely not attributable to one sin alone but to the style of his life once he entered the fast lane.
To begin with, David was out of sight. He was seldom at home. Too many battles. Too many responsibilities. Too many wives. Too many children. How could intimacy flourish? Too many soldiers to keep track of, too many construction projects, too much money to count. Too many preoccupations. David was the classic absentee father.
Dad is anchored by his roots, but the sons roots end at the hard surface of the freeway, because Dad is out of sight. Not only was David out of touch by being out of sight, but he also was out of touch emotionally. Absalom, the wayward son, was allowed to live in the same town with his father for years but not allowed to see his fathers face. How out of touch! Tears over his stranger-son. Pride. Insecurity. Confusion. Emotional distance.
David was not only out of sight and out of touch, but he was also way out of line. Treacherous murder to cover adultery. David was big-time, heavy-duty out of line.
Kids suffer when parents are out of line. The tragic reality is that, even though kids may be angry at their parents sins, they often imitate with a vengeance, the very patterns they have hated in their parents, whether it be workaholism, alcoholism, affairs, or divorce.
Out of sight. Out of touch. Out of line. This left David completely out of control. When his daughter, Tamar, was raped by her brother, David was merely grieved. When Absaloms hands shed Amnons blood, David was angry. Grieved and angry! But he did nothing! What is a father to do when paralyzed by guilt? How do you punish your sons for copying pages from your own book?
Although David was out of control, he was not out of time. True, some of Davids sons were dead, but he still had time to zero in on Solomon. David was not beyond the circle of Gods love. Solomon at this time was not a junior high preteen. He was a man with a family and in line for the throne. Even so, David had not taken his hands off Solomons heartnor had God taken His hands off David.
Although David was out of control, he was not out of time.|
About the time I hit my mid-forties, our children began to marry and leave us. I dreaded the rapidly approaching day when Chris, our youngest son, would leave home. Everything important to me was slipping into the past. The future seemed to have vaporized. Then our grandchildren came along. Hallelujah! Suddenly, everything important in life shifted to the future. I am more eager than ever to teach the ways of God to my sons and daughters and their children. Or to our grandkids. Or someone elses. Carolyn and I grandparent dozens of kids besides our own. We learned this from David.
Will Allen Dromcoole
Here the familiar poem endsbut it didnt say enough to suit me. Our children grow up in the fast lane where roots are not automatically stimulated and where the challenges to their spiritual development are vastly different from our experiences. So I have taken the liberty to scratch a few lines of my own to complete the poem for our times:
Things may not have gone well in your family. Possibly you have been out of sight, out of touch, out of control; but you are not out of time. Maybe it is not too late.
Step away from the computer and go make some phone calls. Circle around you what family you can. Sit down and say, I know now that in many ways I have failed you. But could our family have a new start? We can still change the way we live. Lets be family: father, mother, children and grandchildren for the future generations.
HEARTLIGHT(sm) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
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Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Article copyright © 1998, Lynn Anderson. Excerpts from The Shepherd's Song, Howard Publishing Company. Used by permission.
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