My wife and I have just returned from Fort Leonard Wood Missouri where we attended the graduation ceremony of my oldest son from boot camp in the US Army. He is following in our family tradition of military service to this country.
My father served in the U.S. Navy, I served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and now my son, Alonzo is serving in the U.S. Army. I must say that it looks as if Army life agrees with him. He stands taller and for the first time in his life I have noticed that he is determined and has a sense of pride in himself. It is as if he has been waiting to do this all of his life.
During boot camp he would call me on Sunday evenings to tell me what he had accomplished during the week (qualifying at the rifle range, running the obstacle course, attention to detail, etc.) as well as to "gripe" about how the drill sergeants gave he and his fellow recruits absolutely no slack. I would encourage him as much as possible and give him the benefit of my experiences in similar situations. I do believe that for the first time in his life, he actually listened to me, his father. No matter what the future brings, I am proud of him for taking and embracing this change in his life.
I got to wonder about how often I seek God and listen to His words. Just like I am here to help any of my children, I need to realize that God is here to help me (His child) benefit from His past experience if I ask Him. Now understand that "I do pray and ask God to help me and my family." The question then becomes "Do I listen to what God tells me and then do I do it (no matter how formidable the undertaking or step may be)"? I have to honestly answer, "Not as much as I need to."
In my opinion, the key to being free from "stuff" (sickness, poverty, problems with our children, problems with our jobs, mates, etc.) is knowing that if I am going through this "stuff" with God then everything will be all right. By being free I mean being free of the worry and fear associated with whatever I am going through at the time.
No matter what, I will always have to go through "stuff". The key thought here is to not attach myself to any potential outcome of my circumstance or situation. I know that God is with me every step of the way and, if necessary, will fight my battles for me. I have to learn how to stay in the present and in the presence of God. I should not worry about a future outcome that in most likelihood will never occur. I just need to allow God to lead me. However allowing God to lead me is much, much easier said than done. I have to keep reminding myself that John 8:36 says "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" Jesus did free us didn't He?
Now, when I am going through what seems like the "valley of the shadow of death" I do so boldly knowing that He will bring me safely through it. And when God sets a table before me in the presence of my enemies (i.e. "haters") I will be able to smile and wave at the "haters" as well as give God the glory that He so richly deserves.
In summary, our children need us as much as we need them. We need God as much as He needs us.