We visited a resort town in the mountains of Oita Prefecture for a few days in early January. Yufuin is our favorite getaway spot! The natural hot spring spas, delicious food, quaint shops, and one special kind of coffee bean (that can only be purchased in this little getaway town) all helped us to experience the word “relaxation.” One or two nights did not seem enough to feel really relaxed, so we spent three ⎯ and even then felt that wasn’t enough.
One evening, we were walking back to our hotel on a narrow street lined with all kinds of interesting shops and spotted this young family. “What an awesome picture,” I thought. Balanced in the middle with their little daughter, this young father and mother were a perfect picture of God’s plan for every Adam and Eve. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
Families: a social unit consisting of parents and the children that they rear. Families are God’s idea. We were all born into one. It was not God’s intent to leave kids to look after and provide for themselves, but gave them a father, and a mother to guide them into their futures.
Because of the messed up ways of the world in which we live, there are many children whose parents have forsaken them. We may not know why parents forsake their children, but they have refused to become the father, or mother God intended them to be. Husbands and wives are made parents in order to bring their children to maturity, to educate and nourish them. God creates children in His own image, but gives the responsibility of “rearing” them to the parent father-mother team.
The world system today is robbing parents of something more valuable than job position and wealth. It is robbing them of time, “family time.” It took God a set period of time to create the little girl in this picture in her mother’s womb. When He finished, He handed the baton to her father and mother by saying, “Train up (this) child in the way he/she should go: and when he/she is old, he/she will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. It takes a set period of time to create a family, too.
Parents’ love for each other, the time they spend together, and the fruit of that love and time (our children), are what links us together as a family.
“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife . . . ”
“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting.”
“Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, ‘so you will live well and have a long life.’ ” Ephesians 5:22, 25 and 6:1-2 Eugene Peterson’s The Message.
As I look again, and again, at this photo, I realize that there are children all over the world walking a street at sunset, wandering alone, with no direction, no guidance ⎯ and no hand to grasp!
This weekend would be a great time to go for an evening walk with the WHOLE family! While you’re walking, why not talk to them about God?