By Delvin R. Sweeney
Dealing with Oppression
I am a father to four mostly grown children. Any father whose child has had to deal with bullying can relate to the desire to bully the bully, giving him a taste of his own medicine. Even so, we know the best thing to do is to teach our children to deal with bullies in ways that build character.
The child, like the father, would like to see dad be the hero and punch the bully in the nose. But in the long run, parents hope situations like these teach children to anticipate and deal with situations that aren’t fair.
Just because we cannot be there in person for our children does not mean we don’t care. On the contrary, we care deeply. So we teach, we pray, we mend boo-boos and egos, and sometimes we console.
Oh, Yes, He Cares!
Our heavenly Father cares for our children even more than we do. When life is hard, he teaches, he mends broken egos, he consoles, and at times he intervenes in wonderful ways.
God knows what is best for us. He uses the suffering we endure to build our character and our faith. Sometimes God permits suffering to humble us, to help us lay aside our egos, our self-worshipping arrogance, and our know-it-all attitude. He allows us to suffer so we can learn to depend on him.
Since “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17), everything else comes from below; but God even uses that to help us reach our potential and become more like him.
That’s why James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (1:2). Wow! We’re to praise him when the trials begin—not just when they end. As another song says, “ I will praise him in the storm!”
Delvin R. (Dee) Sweeney is the senior minister at Milltown Christian Church in Milltown, Indiana. He and his wife, Cynthia, have three adult sons in the ministry and a daughter studying missions at Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee.