It was all a bit foreign

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, September 20, 2019
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Religion Columnist

Theology in the Trenches

Years back, I had just returned home after living out of country when a family in town invited me into their home. You see, they had a foreign exchange student and wanted me to “bridge the gap” so to speak. As I had acquired new language skills, I thought I might be of some help.

I was conversing with their exchange student in his native language while mom sat nearby cheering me on. As she’d not seen me for two years, she hung onto every word I said when she blurted out, “I just love hearing you speak!”

Dad, he was having his own conversation with someone else in the house. You see, dad didn’t need to cheer me on. He knew that I could do it and that I would do it. He was more matter-of-fact because after all, I’d been in a Spanish speaking country for two years, so why wouldn’t I be able to communicate as such?

Dad’s quiet expectations were duly noted. Mom’s expression of reconnecting were also noted as I was her daughter whom she loved.

Looking at my own parenting style and reflecting upon it, I see that I often times mimic my mom’s style of persistent cheerleading. Yet, at the same time, I clearly see that the solid ground from which our children have launched is because of the quiet expectations set forth from their father. Odd it is that we mamas put so much energy into cheering on our soldiers as they march through life … while a father’s expectations often quietly speak louder.

I suppose that’s how our Heavenly Father does it. He sets the standard and the boundaries. He’s there … all solid like … just waiting for us to respond. And when we do, it’s no surprise because after all He’d been expecting us to fulfill that which was laid out so long ago.

The character of my earthly father often matched up with that of my Heavenly Father. I don’t suppose all earthly fathers do, but as our Heavenly Father never leaves us nor forsakes us, I know that we can always count on His character to never fail if our earthly fathers fall short.

One of the character traits about our Father is that He is unchanging.

Back in Malachi 3:6 He affirms this. “I am the Lord, and I do not change.”

Hebrews 13:8 reinforces it. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Finally, there is Psalm 136. “I give thanks because He is good. His love endures forever.”

That doesn’t seem so foreign now, does it? Not one bit foreign at all. Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)