Monday, June 11, 2012

Disappointment Redeemed

I'm so disappointed in you.

A knife pierced my 12 year old heart.  My mother had the power to reduce my foolishness with only that phrase. With only a disproving look and those quietly spoken words, I was reduced to shame.  Couldn't she have just spanked me and gotten it over with? A quick kapow to the bum would have been less painful than the "disappointment speech".

As a parent to a young adult, I too, know what it is to be disappointed in my child's decisions.  I understand how it hurts to hear of his wayward choices that he calls fun.  I know the burden of carrying my child's disappointing choices so close to my heart they almost become my own.

Don't misunderstand me.  My son is A-mazing.  He defends my, and your, freedom on a daily basis.  He sees the positive in his adventures in Afghanistan.  He can crack jokes about the amount of sand found in every crack and crevice of his body.  He can laugh and make light of his accomplishments in the military.  He is funny, energetic, a dreamer, a sweet big brother.

He's also 23.  He is a Christian.  A young Christian.  His spiritual growth has been slow since the age of 16.  He has a servant's heart but doesn't quite know whom he is serving.  Military advancement?  Education? Business owner?  Endless opportunities.

The last few times he had been home for R and R, I was disappointed.  I had expected to see a man.  And I did.  I saw a strong, confident, able-bodied man.  But not necessarily a man of God.  My gentle urgings and then later, bold conversations, did nothing to produce the behavior I thought I should be seeing.  You see, I had an image of who I thought my child should be.  The actuality didn't match up.  Nope, not at all.

I was frustrated and in all honesty, became a little distant in my disappointment.  Instead of continuing to pray on his behalf I refused to talk to God about the situation.  Rather than gently reproach him I began to dread our conversations.  I withheld much from a son who needed and asked for little.

Can you the parallel? 

I am a sad and sickly sinner.  I continuously disappoint my Father with my foolish choices and unwise decisions.  His heart aches over my disregard of Him.  He is angered by my unrepentant sin.  He knows the beautiful creation He has made me to be and I fall short.  On a minute by minute basis, I fall short.

But oh! What a gracious and loving Father I have.  For he never denies me His presence.  He never gives me the treatment I deserve.  He never withholds what I need.  He is an A-mazing God full of mercy, forgiveness, love, joy.  Did I mention mercy?  Lots of mercy and grace for all that I am not.  He welcomes me home every time I turn to Him.  He embraces me even when I disappoint Him.  My God loves me beyond where I've been.

And my son and I?  God has graciously given me a glimpse of my sin.  And He has graciously given me a glimpse of the man he is creating in my son.  And He has graciously given me a new attitude, ability, and desire to love my boy right now.  Right where he is today with a measure of mercy, love, and grace that can only come from Him.

His grace flows abundantly.


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