June 15, 2012 - “I’ll Make a Man Out of You!”
By Jerry D. Scott
Dad had a stable, and each spring a new group of colts arrived that needed to be trained, the goal being to have a saddle-broke mount ready by the fall! My summer work, along with Dad’s help, was breaking in six or eight horses. To a boy standing 5 feet tall and weighing 100 pounds, a horse is a BIG animal, and sometimes a particularly rambunctious one would make me afraid.
But if I tried to retreat, I would hear Dad urging me to stick with it. He would tell me I had to make that animal, which stood taller and outweighed me by 10 to 12 times, understand who was in charge. When fear made me tremble, Dad would take me aside and remind me that life would be hard, and that he was making a man out of me! I never heard those words as unsympathetic, because in the context of Dad’s love, I knew they were meant for my best! I am glad Dad made me face my fears and not back down. Those long-ago life lessons in perseverance were never forgotten.
“‘See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,’ says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness … acceptable to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4, NIV).
Malachi’s prophecy about God’s work in bringing the best from us can be read as something fearful and harsh OR as a promise of hope, thanking God that He cares enough to lead us to spiritual maturity.
The difficulties of life can be so hard as to seem overwhelming. There are situations that look like they will destroy us. There are people who work to sabotage us. There is a spiritual adversary who dispatches his demons to try to ruin us. But our Father, by His Spirit, is near and urges us onward, reminding us that He’s refining us, purifying us so that we will become mature, serving Him in a way that enjoys His favor! “‘So I will come near to you for judgment. … But do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 3:5).
Remember, God is always close, never allowing us to be faced with a trial that is greater than we can endure. He’s making a man out of you. (And yes, dear sisters, making a mature woman out of you!)
May your family enjoy celebrating dads this weekend, and their man-building (and woman-building) wisdom.
— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Washington (N.J.) Assembly of God.