“What is your problem?”
The anger, frustration and resentment were obvious as Kevin shouted these words at his father as they were returning from the weekly bible study held in the “Church in the Paddock” in their country town.
Kevin was focussed on his driving and his dad was avoiding eye contact, the strained atmosphere in the car was swiftly rising to a crescendo. Kevin’s voice trembled as his grip on the steering wheel increased resulting in white knuckles on his large rough farmer’s hands.
“Why do you always play devil’s advocate when others share their faith, you know that Charlie and his wife are doing it tough and the last thing he needs right now is to be told that his lack of faith is only adding to his problems”.
“You wouldn’t understand” replied his father, “you don’t know him like I do”.
Kevin’s anger increased as he glanced at his dad seeing the familiar smirk that usually indicated that Kevin should know better than to challenge his own father.
“That is so typical of you, the sacred elder of the church dispensing spiritual wisdom that makes no sense at all, condemning rather than encouraging, what kind of game do you think you are playing?”
The rest of the journey home was completed under a dark cloud of stifling, hurtful silence. Kevin parked the car and after a final check of the calf that was born that afternoon he went straight to his room rejecting his father’s offer of a hot drink.
Kevin’s mum had died as the result of a farm motor bike accident three years ago; he had promised his dad that he would stay on the farm for four years by which time he would be twenty five and, as it had turned out, his romance with Leanne was becoming serious and they needed space to plan their future.
The following morning both men were kept busy with their daily tasks, but Kevin sensed that the storm of last night was far from over.
“All right” snapped Kevin’s dad angrily as they shared their morning coffee, “I suppose you think you deserve an explanation”.
“Come on Dad, after all these years of church, bible study groups and your position in our church I would have expected some positive encouragement for Charlie last night”.
Raising to his feet his dad started pacing up and down as though contemplating his next move; he placed a trembling hand on Kevin’s shoulder and with a shaky voice began to speak.
“You do realise that if I had warned mum about that temporary fence she would still be alive today, I have struggled these past three years and continually asked, where was God when I needed Him”.
Kevin placed a hand on his dad’s and looked into his tear filled eyes, he was well aware of his father’s guilt but had never considered for one moment that his dad was questioning God in all this, after all this time.
Despite all the grief counselling they had both been through it was obvious that his father still had a dark cloud hanging over his spirit.
“Dad, you always told me that life is like a game of cards in which we have no control of the cards we are dealt, but we do have control how we play the hand, surely, as we are saved by the blood of the lamb that by grace we are not compelled to accept the circumstances that are forced on us”.
“I know son, but I have become bitter in my spirit and as I did last night I tend to lash out against others by becoming cynical about their problems.”
Kevin stood up lifting his dad up, wrapped his muscular arms around him and whispered, “I’m sure God is available for a mini conference, let’s knock on His door”.
Having prayed together Kevin reached for his Bible that he kept in his tractor and with a huge smile on his lips read “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1Chorinthians 2:12 KJV.
“Oh Kevin, I should have shared this with you sooner, I must take firmer faith steps rather than relying on self-effort, I’m going to phone Charlie to apologise and see if he has time for a coffee and a chat”.
Rest from your own labour to enter God’s rest.
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