A Father's Love for His Son...


All three  of my boys got stomach flu this past weekend. What a miserable two days.
One by one they each succumbed to a 24 virus that was going around the local schools.  It’s horrible to hold your child and see them suffering and crying and not know how to help him.   This is not how things were meant to be— I am sure of that.
My middle son was first to get sick. He vomited every 45 minutes all night long. The next night the other two  had the same experience for twelve hours and had to miss school. They were weak,  barely able to walk, had no appetite, and just moped around the house all day.
Of course I get the stomach virus at the same time, but it was not like my sons’. I was weakened and lacked any motivation to do much of anything, but I was not in pain—praise God we were not all incapacitated at the same time!   The boys were truly afflicted and I could do nothing to stop it or rescue them.
For me, it’s difficult  to bear with anything that is in agony, but when those who look to me for answers and protection and are crying out to me to please do something, I am heavy-hearted!  But doesn’t a broken heart give us a better picture of  the kind of love that God must have for us? Is this a glimpse into His heart …and does this better explain why He sent His Son to suffer for us? Does this knowledge of that incredible compassion that God has for us not dispel all Satan’s attempts to suggest that you or I “don’t matter” or that we  are “not individually important to God?”
Aside from the truly disgusting aspect of cleaning up the mess that a stomach virus gives three boys at the same time,  their discomfort brought them closer to me and I was able to perform the task—-unsavory though it was—-of showing that I loved them and that I was  still responsible for their well-being.  But I am reminded that Christ did some rather unsavory things as well for those He loved when He washed the disciples feet, received all manner of insults and curses, and was even spit in the face.  Yes, my Savior knows about the disgusting tasks of caring for illnesses—-physical and spiritual.
How different our Heavenly Father is from how much of the world seems to perceive Him. Yes, He is holy, resolute on His demand that we be holy, and determined to hold us accountable for our choices and how we use the gifts He bestows upon us.  But consider how He too suffered as His Son begging Him to “let this cup pass”, or how He watched that beloved child crumble under the merciless flogging, collapse under the weight of the cross and then hear His beloved One cry out, “Father! Why are you not looking at me?!” (i.e. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  God loves us so much that He endured the hurt of the His Son to ensure our eternal redemption with Him.  Oh, to remember this when I am inclined to wonder about His love.
“Oh the love of God, how deep, how wide
Oh the love of God, how vast, how high…”
Warmly,
Dean Barley
1945 Vineyard Road
Westfield, NC 27053
336 351 2070
www.vineyardcamp.com

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