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Wayward children

June 14, 2017
By Pastor ROGER LEMKE ( , Pine Island Eagle

A vacation Bible School teacher told her class the story of Jonah and the whale. During the discussion the teacher asked the children, "If you were swallowed by a whale how would you escape?"

One said, "I'd start a fire in the whale's stomach, and he'd cough me out!"

Another said, "I'd stomp on his tongue till he spit me out."

Then a little girl said, "I'd call my daddy and wait 'till he got me out."

Now there's a young lady who is very fortunate. She has learned to trust her dad. On Sunday, we applaud those fathers who walk in the footsteps of a God who comes to us as a loving, compassionate father, because we are "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matt. 9:36).

My son Nick and I were talking about his first day in school. He said that the teacher asked if "I had any brothers or sisters, and I told her I was an only child."

I asked, "What did she say?"

Nick replied, "Thank goodness!"

Despite a loving father's teaching, guidance and admonitions, when left on his or her own, a child may easily become a wayward child. Much to His embarrassment, God had to admit that Adam and Eve made some wrong choices and became His own wayward children. And in Ex. 19:5 God tells the Israelites: "You are my treasured possession, you shall be for Me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation."

And yet, over and over again, the Israelites, like us, became God's wayward children and continually broke His heart.

However, Roman 5:6 reminds us that, "While we were still weak at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."

From time to time, we hear of a Father who has said to a wayward child, "You are no longer my child." That cannot happen with God, for with God there is a complete forgiveness and forgetfulness of our waywardness. As the Psalmist tells us, "God has compassion on His people just as a father has compassion on his children" (Ps. 103:13).

I was speaking with a young man dying of AIDS. He said, "I am lost. Now I go painfully to hell. There is no hope for me."

I saw a framed picture of a pretty, little girl on the dresser.

"Who is this?" I asked.

He brightened, "She is my daughter, the one beautiful thing in my life."

"And would you help her if she was in trouble, or forgive her and still love her if she made a mistake?" I asked.

"Of course, I would! I would do anything for her!" he exclaimed. "Why do you ask such a stupid question?"

"Because I want you to know that despite your waywardness, God has a picture of you on His dresser."

Today and every day, believe those words whispered in your ear: "I am God, your Father, and will be with you and I will bless you forever more" (Ps. 121:8).

Roger Lemke is pastor of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church. The church is at 10360 Stringfellow Road. Call 239-283-1170 for service times and/or additional information about programs offered.



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