|Volume 19 Number 11 November 2017||
The other afternoon, Barbara and I pulled up at the Bible Building on the campus of Faulkner University, and she noticed something scurrying right along the curb of the parking area. It was four of the cutest little birds. They had long legs, way out of proportion to their little bodies. Up on the grass above the curb were Momma and Daddy. They were chirping and hollering to beat the band. The little ones could not get up to them, and mom and dad could not figure out how to help them up. As we stood watching them, brother Cecil May pulled up. He told me that they were killdeer. These little birds are precious to watch.
I started over in their direction, and all of a sudden the daddy bird dropped to the ground like he had been shot. He laid on his side and waved his wing in the most contorted way. I knew what he was doing. He wanted me to see him and come after him so I would leave those babies alone. He thought he could deal better with me, and I got the impression that he would rather die than see those little ones get hurt. I thought, God is illustrating through these tiny little birds how it ought to be with parents.
When a baby is born into the world, it enters totally helpless and dependent. How dare anyone harm such a precious little being? How dare someone abuse and misuse them? What a precious gift babies are from God. For the loving parent, however, with that birth a journey begins. It is a journey that will bring innumerable joys as well as floods of tears. It is a journey in which parents will enjoy some of the greatest successes one day, and they will feel despair and helplessness at other times. It is the most humbling, difficult, wonderful and joyous job that God has assigned to humans—being parents.
Many times in the lives of our children, parents will feel like those little birds up above the curb chirping and hoping to bring their little ones to safety. Sometimes a child lies in the bed eaten up with fever, hardly able to breathe, and there is so little parents can do. When children are hurt, injured and in pain, and they look at their parents, as if to say, “Why are you letting this happen?” One’s very soul longs to make them better, but all parents can do is to love them.
When they are ridiculed, you would love to take a switch (or something bigger) to those who are making them hurt. When you watch helplessly as their hearts are broken in two by someone to whom they have given themselves, you wish a thousand times that you could heal the pain and make that other person realize what he or she has done. Your heart breaks in pieces as you watch your children in pain, but all you can do is love them.
Sometimes you watch your children, no matter how old, drawn away into things that ought not to be. You see them led by friends, by society and by other evil influences. You stand “up on the curb” with a tearful, fearful cry, but you don’t know what to do. You don’t know how to help. If you could, you would give your very life if it would take them away from those things that are leading them to destruction. You must never give up what is right for your children, but you search for the right words, the right actions and the right attitudes to snatch your children from the danger of which they may not even be aware. You pray, you talk, you cry, you despair and you seek answers. Yet, all you can really do is to love them.
I don’t know what happened to those little birds. I hope they somehow found safety under their parents’ wings. I hope they were snatched away from the dangers of the world: cars, cats and people. I hope that we can learn about being good parents, a lesson from God taught through little birds with legs well out of proportion.
When I Grow Up
A little boy is sitting with his mom and dad. His parents ask him with great curiosity, “Son, what do you want to be when you grow up?” The son boldly announced, “When I grow up I want to be Batman.” Now, most people have heard a conversation like this take place, and in the place of Batman answers are given like a Superman, a fireman, a police officer, a doctor, a nurse, a professional athlete, etc. A child does not always really know what he or she wants to be at an early age, but if you examine the types of answers that children give to this question, you will see a common theme. Children want to be something great. They want to be something that makes a difference.
In the world in which we live today, we do need great nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers and so many other wonderful people and professionals. We need people who are out in the world really trying to help people and who desire to make a difference. Yet, instead of just encouraging people and especially young people to pick an amazing career, set some spiritual goals. Noble goals would include one day being an elder, a deacon, a preacher (or a wife and helper of an elder, a deacon or a preacher), a teacher or just a hard worker and a supporter in the church. As each year goes by, it gets harder and harder to find people willing to teach or lead a Bible study. Fewer and fewer people want to be elders or deacons, and there is definitely a shortage of sound Gospel preachers. Wouldn’t it be great if our children not only desired a great career, but they also desired to be faithful Christians?
Just a few days ago, I was sitting with my two-year-old, Josh. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. My heart melted when he shouted out loudly, “Jesus!” Now, I have no idea why at that particular moment he shouted out Jesus, but it really made this dad smile. I hope my kids will always desire to be like Christ. For my son and daughter, I hope they will desire to be Christians first. I hope they will choose Christian spouses and live in faithful marriages. I hope they will one day be Christian parents and lead their homes toward Christ each day. I hope my children will be Christ-like toward every person with whom they come in contact—their friends and their enemies. My hopes and dreams for my kids are the same as many Christian parents all over the world. Let us always encourage our offspring to have spiritual dreams and goals and to recognize that the time to start working toward those goals is right now.