Have you ever had anybody invest in you personally? And I don't mean financial investments. What I mean is, have you ever experienced someone investing their time in helping you grow as a person?
For me, one such person is named Dick Phaup. When I completed high school Dick was just launching his own house painting business. I was an aimless dreamer who needed a full time job. He needed another painter. I knew nothing about painting houses, but Dick was willing to train me, so I accepted his offer of employment.
This began a relationship that helped me grow as a person. Dick showed patience with this rather inept handyman and he always paid a fair wage. Whenever we worked together on a job site, he always engaged me (a quiet introvert) in good conversation...even some spiritual conversations.
There is more I could say, but I will merely state that Dick was great to work for and I really wanted his business to succeed. And it did.
But let's suppose I didn't care about him or his business at all. Rather than being on time and working hard I was intentionally tardy (at times even absent) and lazy (goofing off on the job). What if I did sloppy work on purpose and constantly argued with Dick - even did the complete opposite he told me to do? Can you imagine how he would feel if I slandered his character and blasphemed his name? And if that were not bad enough, suppose all I did was complain about how miserable Dick seems to make my life.
You know what I mean...I made comments such as, "If Dick really cares about me as an employee why does he accept difficult jobs? How come we have to climb so high on these ladders? Doesn't he care about how difficult this work is?"
Would I be worthy of retaining my job with him? Not at all! But let's suppose that Dick kept me on. He continued to pay a fair wage, and instruct me despite my consistent rebellion and rejection of his tutelage. What would you think of Dick if that were situation?
Well among the many words that may be coming to your mind right now, I'm quite confident you would say that if that were situation then Dick would be showing me extreme kindness. Kindness I probably wouldn't even deserve.
You know, the question concerning God's goodness in the midst of suffering is asked so frequently we don't even realize how kind He is to us. Jesus said, "...he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6:35). Time will not permit me to delve any further into that reality today. Therefore, I invite you to check back soon as I contemplate the kindness of God.
Meanwhile, I do hope you're planning on joining us on Sunday September 16th for our community Sunday as we explore the greatest proof that God does care about us and our pain.