Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FIL in the Blanks...

I know, NOT this Jethro.
Reading through Exodus recently I came across a passage I have read many times in the past, yet only now does it really hit home.  In Exodus 18, Jethro (Moses's father-in-law) comes to visit Moses and Israel in the wilderness and returns Moses's wife and children.  While hanging out with the gang, he watches Moses as he goes out to judge Israel and is bogged down in the activity from morning until evening.  Jethro offers Moses some advice. Don't do everything alone, appoint able bodied, God-fearing men to assist you in this.

Good advice.

I could now ramble on about how the "captains of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, of tens" are a precursor to a more modern concept of small groups/cell groups in today's churches.  It would be truth.  But that is not what I take out of this passage...by a long shot.

To me it is more about the advice from the father-in-law (FIL). 

My FIL is a preacher.  Yes, I know the more correct term would be pastor, as he does shepherd a small church in Georgia, but deep down, a preacher is what he is.  I would liken him to a good ole SBC preacher from the olden days.  He is no frills, to the point, and not ashamed of the Gospel.  He tells it like he sees it, and that is not always the "PC" way.  I believe he would be just as happy riding from church to church on horse back sharing the Word of God to the masses.

Before I get too off track, let me state for the record that we are VERY different people.  He is country (sort of like Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty), while I am not so much.  He is not technically savvy, I am a geek.  We have a different perspective on many things, and do not often agree.  To clarify, I do not mean there is conflict or anything like that, just he is going to do things his way (potentially involving duct tape and bailing wire), and I am going to do things my way (usually involves seeking a professional).

Like Jethro to Moses though, he has often stood in the gap and offered me advice (sound advice).  I am very thankful for it when I receive it since I know it comes from his love and acceptance of me and for his daughter.  I know I haven't always followed his advice (and more often than not regretted it), but I always appreciated his views and perspective.

When things fell apart in my life and my relationship with my wife, I harbored anger towards him for (in my opinion) facilitating her departure from me.  I know he was seeking her best interest at the time and still prayed that one day things would correct and we would be reunited.  It took me a long time to get over my anger, but I did talk to him and apologize for what I held in my heart. 

When we spoke and I apologized (tearfully as I repented), he told me he knew my wife still loved me and needed to walk through the hurt I caused her.  And that I needed to give it time, pray about it, and pursue her cautiously and carefully.  In time, God has a plan that we just don't see right now.

As time went on and I fought against it, he was right.  While the plan was nothing I could have ever imagined, the results are nothing less than miraculous.  Things are not all happy-shiny-perfect all the time (this is reality, NOT Hollywood), but they are better than I would have ever imagined.

I am glad he was willing to continue to care for me, pray for me, and love me, and mostly that he was willing to FIL in the Blanks for me (see, there is the pun of the title).  Thank you David.

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