He lay in bed with his broken right arm strapped to his waist. It must have been broken in such a way that they couldn’t cast it but had to immobilize it in this fashion. He wanted to call his brother, and with great difficulty, he reached with his left arm to grab the phone from the hospital bed holder. He had hiked up his nightshirt to dial with a finger from the restrained arm. I asked if I could help him, and with a twinkle in his eighty-year-old eye he said, “I learned a long time ago, you can do anything you really want to!”
Another dear brother in Christ has paralyzed legs. Helpers have to use a hoist to get him from his bed to his wheelchair. Not only do his legs not work, but they are quite painful. That is his life, patient suffering. He is always waiting on someone to help him with his every need. Yet, I can’t ever remember him complaining. He shares Jesus first by the peace and joy everyone witnesses and then by the confession of his lips. He speaks of how Jesus saved him and that He will save you as well. Finally, he shares about how good God is.
Most families are getting close to a new homeschool year beginning again. The books have been ordered and received by now. Mom has looked over her curriculum and is doing some planning and mapping out of the year. Yet, homeschooling often provides some real challenges.
In our home there is usually a spirit of anticipation mixed with a bit of apprehension. The new year always brings about some character-training challenges. For example, a while ago, during the confession time of our evening family worship, there were no confessions at all. We try to ask forgiveness when offenses occur during the day. However, if anyone didn’t ask forgiveness earlier, then the evening time is when we clear our consciences before bed. After a long, quiet pause, I asked, “Hasn’t someone offended someone else in the day and not made it right?”
One of the younger ones stated innocently, “Daddy, we didn’t have school today.”
We can let the difficult situations of homeschooling that arise be discouraging or embrace them as occasions to prove and hone our children’s (and all too frequently our own) character. This is the area where Teri seems to need my help with homeschooling the most. I am asked to help differentiate between such things as sin and youthful carelessness in the children, slothfulness and inability, and then provide direction and motivation for improvement.
I have found there is never a good time in my schedule for the difficulties that arise. However, these situations tend to expose my real priorities. If raising men and women of God is one of my highest priorities, then how can I not have time to intervene, think, pray, and restore as needed when one of these growth opportunities comes along for the children?
When I find myself thinking I am too busy and resent the need for my attention when a situation arises, I’m showing that I am not committed to Teri’s success in teaching the children. It is a real wake-up call for me when I sense I’m feeling like that. I then repent of my selfish and sinful attitude and ask Jesus for wisdom in both the situation and managing my time. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). When I think of the investment Teri is making in our children’s lives as she teaches them, I am ashamed if I find myself resentful when she needs my time.
Those two men whom I shared about in the beginning of this Dad’s Corner are powerful reminders as to how I am called to love and lead this family. My time is not my own. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
When situations requiring my attention cause resentment in my heart, I am showing I’m no more mature than one of the children who is struggling in doing what they must do. I am humbled as I look to those two men I wrote about in the beginning. We can do anything that Christ is leading us to do, if we put our mind to it. If we are hopelessly buried in our work, then we must depend all the more on Jesus. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We don’t give of our time grudgingly but cheerfully. We demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in these times. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25). We live out the reality of our walk with Jesus each day with our family. May we be leaders putting our families’ needs first and helping our wives to be successful no matter what it costs us. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).