11¶ He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
When I was a young father, an older friend asked me, “Well, has the baby embarrassed you to death yet?” At that time I didn’t understand, but all too soon I did.Parenthood is a job with built-in embarrassment. Sooner or later, that sweet bundle of joy is going to do something in public that will make you wish you could crawl under the house and die.
My boys are high school students now, so I have the perspective of passing time. I’m going to tell you something I wish somebody had told me many years ago, something I think can save you some grief. As hard as it is to believe, the things your baby does now to embarrass you may, in future years, be among your most precious memories.
About 16 years ago, our dear family friend Leann Sibley was leaving for college. She stopped by the parsonage to say her good-byes to our family and to give a little extra love to our son, Spencer, who was an infant at the time. She delivered the most touching parting gift for him—a tiny pair of handmade moccasins her mother had purchased on a trip to Montana. Now, you would think that every little boy would love a brand-new pair of genuine Indian shoes, but Spencer wasn’t having any part of it. As soon as Leann placed the shoes on his feet, Spencer threw what your grandma would have called “a hissy fit”. Think Dr. Bruce Banner turning into The Incredible Hulk. It was probably the worst fit that Spencer ever threw in his entire life.
As you can imagine, we were mortified. Such a sweet, sweet gesture was turned into such an ugly debacle. We were embarrassed. It’s not so much that your friends won’t understand but just that it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. You hope for a scene out of “Little House on the Prairie.” Instead, you get Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”The worst part is that you have a memory that is stained. It makes you feel a little sick at your stomach, and there’s a little knife that sticks in your heart when you recall the thing.
Now flash forward quite a bit. Leann came home for a visit last weekend. She’s Leann Sibley Gabel now, all grown up, and a newly-licensed Christian counselor living in Amarillo. She’s a young mom, now with a beautiful little girl named Jaida Grace. Leann said, “I want you to look at a picture.” Sure enough, it was a photo of the fateful night so many years ago; Spencer Cash, the demon-possessed, all dressed up, and in no mood to go.
When I saw the photograph, I laughed out loud. Moreover, I want a copy of that photo so I can see it every day. You see, every day, God is painting our memories with the paintbrush of time. He’s changing the harsh lines and colors of our tabloid photographs into the gentle, blending hues of watercolor paintings. Somehow things that once seemed so embarrassing are now full of love and light and humor. So, my dear friends, take heart.God really does make all things beautiful in His time.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * Sing that to the tune of “Secret Agent Man.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where they are currently waiting to delight in the stories of how Jaida Grace embarrasses her parents, Curt and Leann). You should drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.