Monday, September 26, 2011

Thessalonians 3: the non-complaining parent

 Sometimes the kids just need to know they are loved. Paul reassures them in a dozen different ways at the end of Chapter 2 and all through Chapter 3 that they are the apple of his eye, the delight of his prayers, the object of his thoughts, and the destination for his next trip. He is so concerned about them that his only discussion of his severe trials (persecution, prison) is to let them know that he's okay and God is in control, and that really it's all working out for the best. He's not glossing, he's speaking truth from a Kingdom perspective.

My father suffered from Parkinson's Disease since I was about five years old until his death in 1996. I never heard him complain about it - never. Not once. The man who had won a national intercollegiate debating championship reduced to inaudible whispering. This amazes me. For that matter he hardly ever complained about anything, at all, to any of us. Self-pity just didn't seem to be in his makeup. There are some who might say he was "in denial" or "not in touch with his emotions." Maybe. Or maybe he had just decided that come what may, he wasn't going to dump his troubles on his children. He wasn't going to "teach" his kids by example to make excuses, or enjoy feeling sorry about themselves.

I love Paul's three-part blessing at the conclusion of chapter three: may God clear the way for us to come to you, may he make your love increase and overflow, and may he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless when Christ returns. For any parent on behalf of their children, a good prayer of blessing.

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