While the title of today’s article might put in our minds that popular song performed by Guns N’ Roses in the 80s, this article has nothing to do with a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. It is about a father-children relationship. If you have children, please keep reading this article. If you not, but are thinking about it, please read it. If you do not have either want to have children, please read it so you may understand those who have them. And, please, if you had children but they are no longer among us, this article has a lot to cover about it and we are thankful for you and the time you dedicate to read this.
Yesterday, at worship services, our son, Jonathan, lead the songs. He is brave and courageous (I remember when I was required to lead songs at MSOP Chapel, and I always said that I prefer to preach the entire week than to lead songs – I do not have pitch or tone, or any of those musical qualities). But, Jonathan loves to lead songs. One of the songs that he planned to lead yesterday was “Lamb of God” but, as we were taught, a song leader must also need to know how to manage the time at services, and he did not lead that song. In the evening service, our other song leader, Elio, without knowing about this, lead that beautiful song.
The song, as written by Twila Paris, says in the first stanza,
Your only Son no sin to hide,
but You have sent Him from Your side
To walk upon this guilty sod,
and to become the Lamb of God.
Last night has been the scariest night of my life. While we were going back home, after a long day, Jonathan was not feeling well. He has been dealing with a lot of issues with his allergies and asthma since we returned to Panama, and during the last few days has been taking some medicines based on what the doctor told him to take. At a moment, he started to scream that he cannot breathe, and hit very hard the window with his hand as a sign of his desperation and agony. We tried to calm him and keep reminding him to think of God’s blessings and pray. We prayed a lot. We went to the hospital, and after a few hours (and an expensive bill) he was stable and ready to go back home. He has been resting and we are still required to seek some other doctors to treat him and help him to fully recover, but thanks to our heavenly Father that he is still with us.
We know that Jesus is the best physician, and that God is in control. We pray and trust in Him. We are aware that this life is like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14). Our problem is that, as human beings, we were (and still are) not ready to depart from him. He is still very young (16), he still has a lot of things to experience, to learn, to practice, to live. We want to see him finishing his studies, to find a nice and Christian lady, to marry, to become a dad, to travel, to work, to serve God more and more, and to keep growing.
Children are to bury their parents, not the other way. Last night’s experience makes me think and remember good brethren and friends that had that experience. They are such a great example to all of us, their conviction and dedication to serve God in the best of their abilities, even when a part of their hearts is gone, is valuable of a great admiration. The Word of God says “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). I can understand them and how they feel when they remember that child of them that they cannot kiss, hug, or just say “Good morning” or “Good night” every day.
I also thought on those whom their children are on the line of duty, not knowing if they will ever come back home. These children of them are doing a very sacrificial work, whether as soldiers, police officers, firemen, etc.
During that time at the hospital, I remembered Abraham and when God told him, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2). The inspired Moses, after that line wrote, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3). There is no such thing written in between those lines like “Why God? Why are you asking me to do this? Why did you pick my son for this sacrifice? What is wrong with you God, he is my only son?” Abraham did what God told him to do because he knew who God is, and submitted to and obeyed Him.
We usually say that time flies, but, at the hospital, time go slowly, very slowly. Minutes become hours when you are waiting for a doctor to show up. You keep asking the nurse and administrative personnel what is happening with the doctor? Why is he or she taking so long to come to see my child? What is wrong with them, the life of my child is important? Somehow, we lose the perspective, and forgot that we are in a hospital, in an ER, and that we are not the only ones that are there seeking for ways to improve the health status of our beloved ones. Once again, that is how human beings think and act. Christians are human beings too, and, while we know that everything is in God’s hands, we suffer by seeing our loved one suffering too. We want answers, but the doctors are taking a lot of time seeing other patients, that desperation and other thoughts come to our minds.
During that long waiting time (that were just a couple of hours), I did not think only on Abraham, but in God, and how perfectly the apostle John wrote,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”John 3:16
The first stanza of “Lamb of God” was playing in my mind several times. How God sent His only begotten Son as a lamb to be sacrificed for each one of us. His only begotten Son, the one that “is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). I remember telling Jonathan, at his hospital’s bed, “You are the best thing God ever give me, be strong”. He started to cry, and while I am writing this I started to cry too. I did not cry when I told him, but my heart was melted. I wished, for a moment, to be the one in that bed and not him. How selfish was I, not be willing to let him go, but today, I am thankful that God decided it was not time for him to depart, and that I can enjoy his company for the time that God allows us to be together, to keep walking the narrow way that is set before us, not only as father and son, but as brothers in Christ.
In order to conclude, as I said in the first lines of this article, if you have been blessed to have children, and they are alive, enjoy them and spend not only some time, but good quality time with them, hug them and tell them how much you love them, let them know that they are important. God did that to Jesus, and does that to us,
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure”1 John 3:1-3.
If your children are no longer walking among us, thank God for having the opportunity to love them and to take care of them while they lived.
Now, it might be that you are not considering to be a parent, but you know people that do. After all, you would not be here without your parents, and most importantly, you would not be here without our heavenly Father. Have you been a faithful child of Him? I pray and hope you do, and if you did not start yet to be that way, please seek for Him, read His will (that is the Bible), study and live according to His Word, thank Him and please Him, and be His child, today, tomorrow might be too late. He wants you back in the family.
God bless you richly!
 Twila Paris, Lamb of God, 1985, Praise for the Lord, p.950.