The Father’s Strength

Over the last year or so, I have started to learn a lot more about my marriage.  What I never really understood or valued as much as I do now is quality time together.  There were times early in our marriage I would leave in the morning for school by 4:00 A.M to hit the gym and then not get home until 8:00 P.M.  At one point; I was working so much when Joshua was just born there were almost two work weeks I did not see him, he was sleeping when I left and asleep when I got home.  Dana was not pleased with this but was graceful as she brought it to my attention.

Here we are almost three years later and another baby in and still trying to master a schedule that helps us get some intentional quality time together.  I say all this because, as silly as it sounds, we have found one of our most enjoyable times together is being able to go food shopping.  I laugh as I write this, but it’s true, the kids are at home with their brother or sister, and Dana and I can have an hour or so to ourselves to walk around, talk, and shop.  Once we get home well, that’s a different story; as I begin to bring in the stuff, the boys are always excited to want to help.  Joshua and even Christiano always seem to want to attempt to carry in the case of water with 40 bottles in them.  I always sit back and laugh as I watch them use all their might as they attempt to pick it up, straining and making noise, exhausting all their muscle strength only to come up short-handed and fail at the task.  After a minute or so, I come up behind them, take the other side with my hands, lift it, assuming most of the weight, and walk beside them.  Christiano often recognizes that it is much easier to utilize help, although Joshua believes he has independently accomplished this task. 

This thought came about as I was reading a book and came across this story. There was a little boy who was struggling to lift a heavy rock.  His father came along just then.  Noting the boy’s failure, he asked, “Are you using all your strength?”  “Yes, I am,” the little boy said impatiently.  “No, you are not,” the father answered.  “I am right here, just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.”  Much like my boys, they were limited in their ability to lift that case of water; using what they thought to be all their strength was, in reality, only part of their strength. Both the boys had access to me the whole time, but failing to realize it and ask for help caused them to depend on themselves and resulted in their struggle.  This serves as an excellent lesson for the boys to help explain that I am here as their dad to help them and that they can call on me when they need help and are struggling.

 I have to be honest, after reading that, the Holy Spirit pressed on me and reminded me how I am all too often that little boy.  There are too many times I want to muster up the will to love, be patient, and be understanding; the list can go on and on.  There are many times I change my actions to be a “better man,” only to fall short days if not hours later.  I found myself able to hold back emotions, words, or thoughts for various amounts of time only to find them uprooted again and even more fierce than before.  The truth is I can attempt to change and be better all I want, but unless I allow the gospel to transform me, I continuously fall back into those same routines.  

I have come to understand the importance of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:10. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul can glorify the power of Christ and make it even more apparent during his weakness. This brings praise and glory to the only one who is deemed worthy of receiving it. Understanding that the storms of life will come, the world will serve as the world, and situations will arise, I can only take them on through the strength of Christ. I have come to an all understanding that I am only transformed through allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of my life, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me every day while renewing my mind and setting my thoughts on the things above. When I am weak, I am nothing more than a child trying to lift a heavy rock; I am on a path to destruction within my walk, life, and relationships. 

So, I ask, are you lifting anything heavy on your own or calling out to the Father?

Frank D’Errico