Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Mr. Peter Langbroek
Your father's hands, how have they helped you? Think for a moment. Before you could remember, they held you, changed your diapers and clothed you. You held Daddy's finger with your tiny hand. You held his hand when you learned to walk. Dad's hands hug you when you sit on his lap; they turn the pages when he reads you a favourite book. His hands stopped you when you almost ran in front of a moving car. Yes, they even spanked you when you were bad.

Why have his hands served you and loved you? They've served you because every good father has a tender heart for his children. Daddy may not always show it (especially when he's mad), but it's there.

Children, I want to tell you a story about a dad which my father told me. My great-grandfather told my grandfather, who told my father. My great-grandfather (100 years ago) was a skipper of a fishing boat in the Netherlands. He and his crew would go fishing for cod on the North Sea for six weeks at a time. These were busy times, hauling cod from the nets, followed by salting cod and putting them in big barrels filled with brine (very salty water). There were also slow times. The fishermen often sang Psalms from memory. They sang them slowly so they could think about every word they sang.

You needed a strong stomach at sea or "sea-legs," because the North Sea was rough. You felt the waves constantly as the ship teetered and tottered over them. The worst place on the boat was the crow's-nest, the highest place on the mast. There you felt the cold wind and the sway of the wave-tossed boat the worst.

If you were a young boy over eleven years old you often went with your father fishing. These men were rough. They had to be on the rough seas. Working was not easy and school was a holiday compared to what those boys had to learn and do. Boys will be boys however, and sometimes they could make their dads mad too. Guess what their punishment was. "Go up the crow's-nest!

One time the steersman's son was bad. When his father saw what he did, he was furious. He glared at his son. His finger pointed up: "Go up the crow's-nest!" The scared boy obeyed. Up he went. The rope ladder swayed more the higher he climbed. Then he got to the crow's-nest. That was torture.

Down on the deck, the men and boys worked, hauling nets and packing cod while the steersman steered the boat. There was the constantly blowing wind, the splashing water, and the sounds of men working. But the steersman heard something else. Singing, not on deck but above deck. His son was singing in the crow's-nest! He heard the words:

As the heav'ns are high above us,
Great His love to us has proved;
Far as east from west is distant
He has all our sins removed.
As a father loves his children,
Feeling pity for their woes,
So the Lord to those who fear Him
Mercy and compassion shows (Psalter 280:4).

Do you remember what every good father has? Well, the steersman had one too! When he heard his scared son singing, he remembered his Father. "You can come down, son!" he called, looking up to him in the crow's-nest.

When he was afraid the boy had put his trust in His Father. He reminded his dad of a precious truth found in Psalm 103:11-14:

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy
toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a
father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear
Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

Your father's hands have done much for you, but our Father in heaven formed us. His love has no limits! It began before time, when He knew and chose His children. He provides and He protects. He also punishes. But His compassion always follows His anger toward His children.

June 16 is a day to remember your father. I hope your hands hug him too. The good things your father does for you, the tender heart he has for you, reflects the greater and perfect things our heavenly Father does for us with His "east to west," everlasting love. Know this clearly, however, He is a Father them that fear Him. Fear Him today!

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