Learning to fly 201
When you were young, rambunctious and full of curiosity, what happened when you challenged authority? My dad had these big, meaty hands we desperately wanted to avoid. Each time we disobeyed (“acted out,” as my folks put it), my dad rushed to the Wisteria bush, stripped off the longest branch, and “switched” us. Man, did it hurt! At other times, the situation called for different measures. My dad would take me aside and quietly chat with me about my errant activities. When I made poor choices, we talked. When I was disrespectful, he switched. My father had the innate wisdom to encourage me to live life to the fullest, allowing me to fail – then he would discipline. And boy, I learned those lessons!How is it I’m able to appreciate the hard knock lessons my father introduced in my life? Simple. He wouldn’t have rebuked if he didn’t care for and love me deeply. He gave me healthy parental skills and helped me develop courage for living. With honor, I learned to face all my mistakes, which led to victories. My dad trained me to never run from failure. That’s when I learned to soar regardless of the circumstances. God’s word echoes my dad’s heart: “Have you forgotten how good parents treat children and that God regards you as his children? Don’t shrug off God’s discipline – it’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you – God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s best!” Hebrews 12:7, 9 (The Message).God is not some wrathful deity waiting in a cloud of thunder above to punish us when we fail. Our Father is the intimate, personal Savior who lavishes mercy, compassion, grace and justice on our lives for one simple reason – he loves us without condition. God Almighty is the present reality who takes personal interest in all our choices, circumstances and relationships so that he can teach us the best path for our journey. In the same way good earthly parents give necessary instruction to their kids, our Father, with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, does whatever it takes with all our struggles and successes to educate and guide us through this existence into eternity. He teaches these lessons so we can live life far more abundantly.Winston Churchill said this: “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” So be courageous. With joy, accept God’s discipline and live by the lessons learned. The Lord’s promise to you is this: “While no discipline seems pleasant at the time, later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those trained by it,” Hebrews 12:11. Remember, each failure, mistake and poor choice gives Christ the opportunity to exhibit the Father’s merciful compassion to you. Rejoice in God’s discipline – it means He’s taking special care to train you to soar higher than you could ever imagine!Gary Wingo leads a study on Jesus Christ Sundays in Edwards. Not gathering July 16.