I was listening to a syndicated talk show on our local Christian radio station last week as I prepared lunch for my wife and I. They were interviewing some women who lead up a support group for mom’s who suddenly find themselves “empty nesters” when their children grow up and leave the home. As I tuned in with one ear I had to laugh a little as I thought, “what about “empty nester dads?” Then I went back a few years and took note of my own situation when we moved back to California after our time in Oklahoma following the completion of my studies there. We not only moved back home without our kids for the first time, but I also was dealing with the rapid departing of my wife’s emotional, physical, and spiritual companionship and encouragement.
As I look back now, I am glad that I was so caught up and involved with my wife’s changes and the constant learning curve I was forced into so as to successfully assist her, that I didn’t have much opportunity to feel sorry for myself. That not to say that I haven’t had (and still have) to deal with that temptation! I realized yesterday that my feelings are probably very normal for someone in my circumstances after spending the last 45 years in daily close interactions with an individual who is your best friend, wife and confident. Needless to say, the transition is very difficult and at times very lonely due to the fact that no other friendship can ever replace what we have developed over two thirds of our lives together.
Have you ever felt lonely? Have you ever felt that no one really understands or at times even cares about your activities? What about all the behind the scenes things that you do on a daily basis? Well… I understand all that, at least in the context of my own situation. But you know, as I read a simple statement from Jesus in Matthew 6:4 this morning, I suddenly felt a peace and an inner satisfaction that makes it all worth the countless hours of toil. Here He declared, “Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.” (God’s Word ©)
First of all… you and I are NEVER alone. He is with us and as He told Joshua in his namesake book in chapter one, verse five, “I will never neglect you or abandon you.” (God’s Word ©) That verse has meant more to me over the last five or six years than any other word in the bible! Even when some people turned against us, it was the knowledge of His never fluctuating union with my wife and I that gave us the strength to go on.
Secondly and maybe most importantly is the fact that He is watching over us 24/7, is very aware of everything we do and is ever ready to reward our quiet and continuous efforts. I am ever thankful for all the favor we have received almost everywhere we go, many times from complete strangers. I believe that this is part of the reward of Papa God's as we stay in tune to His directions and nudging’s throughout the day! And He does (and probably has been doing) the same type of things for you.
So don’t listen to that lie! You and I are NEVER absent from the loving and caring watch of Papa God. Rest in His peace. Resist the temptation to complain and feel sorry for yourself and rejoice in His goodness, His grace and the love He has especially for you! Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word and to His presence about you as you keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”