I must teach my child, that in my own power, I am nothing.
- Jim Shempert
I am a tinkerer by nature. I like to tear things apart and put them back together. I take pride in knowing how things work and how to fix them if they stop working. Like most men, I am a fixer. I tell my daughter never to worry because daddy can fix it. I want her to feel secure in the fact that whatever she faces, she can look to me for guidance and support. But what do I do when daddy can’t fix it?
My daughter was born with an abnormality that requires surgery a couple times a year. It’s more cosmetic than anything, but it still involves putting her under to do it. It causes some bruising on her face for a few weeks after the procedure. She recently had another one of the procedures. I’ve become used to what it does to her, and I have knowledge that it will fade in time. All she knows is something is wrong on her face. Last night, as we were brushing her teeth, she pointed to the bruising on her face and said, “Daddy, my face. Fix it.”
I have never been humbled as much in my life, as I have been as a parent. As much as I try to imagine myself able to handle anything, I find more and more just how little control I actually wield. So what does a man who pays his mortgage by fixing stuff do when faced with something that he can't fix?
As much as I want my child to cling to me in times of uncertainty, in truth, I am a flawed man. I am going to fail her. The most important lesson I can teach her is to follow one that will not fail her. The best way to start her on that path is to immerse her in Scripture.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day. (Psalm 61)
The majesty of Christ is when “from the ends of the earth I call” there is Someone waiting to hear. Not only waiting but eagerly waiting. The Author of all that is or was is longing to hear from you. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! (Isaiah 30:18)”
It is said that wisdom comes with age. The older I get, the more I realize how totally reliant I am on Christ. In my early life as a Christian, I fell victim to a works mentality. I thought if I attended enough services, went to enough revivals, and worked enough youth retreats that I would somehow deserve the sacrifice that Christ made for me. Part of this was being new and, therefore, ignorant of the faith. In a recent morning devotional I heard a verse that I am sure I have breezed by before. ““Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. (John 12:27-30)”
Here is Jesus, the center of all Christianity, telling God to glorify His name. God answers simply, "I have and will again glorify it." The magnanimous nature of God is that He gave of Himself to save us. Therefore, nothing we can do can ever be worthy of His sacrifice.
If I am to be a follower of Christ, I must first be humbled before God. I must turn my eyes to the Author of Life before facing any situation. I must teach my child, that in my own power, I am nothing. I must also teach her of One who is able to answer her every need. One that longs to be gracious to her.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:15-17)”