BRINGING UP SARA, 1.1 HE IS INTO THE FAMILY

The family is God’s grandest idea. It was somehow not enough to have created the sun, the moon, land, mountains, rivers, plants, flowers, animals, forests, birds and fishes, so He went on to create man. 

Even then, His work was incomplete. He completed His work of creation by creating the woman for the man. And with that, the first family came into being. Then, He stopped creating. 

Therefore, the family is God’s greatest idea and design for mankind. 

This is the kind of relationship we are to have with Him, something different from all the other things or creatures – a parent and child relationship. A family. 

Before my husband and I got married, we went for a 21-week pre-marital counselling course held at our church. Yes, 21 weeks! I am very thankful that our first church took marriage very seriously. The late Rev Florence Beck whom we respected tremendously (we all called her Sister Beck) instilled a sense of fear and awe in all of us at her course. 

I remember one particular question among the thousands of questions we had to answer – “how many children do you want to have?” I ticked the box next to ‘2 to 4’ and I was surprised to learn that my husband had answered zero! I remembered how Sister Beck looked at him with her deep penetrating blue eyes and said, “You two have to talk.”

Our Firstborn Changed It All

I found out he was very apprehensive about parenting due to some unpleasant memories in his parent’s marriage and childhood. Thankfully, we sat down to talk about it and he came to accept having children, but not too many. Two years later, our baby daughter came into our lives. 

When Nikki was born, he was in love. Initially apprehensive about staying with me in the delivery room as he feared the sight of pain, he described how he felt to me when the gynaecologist handed our newborn to him. 

A strange feeling came out of nowhere within him, completely surprising him –  an emotion from deep within. An emotion so strong he did not know he possessed. It flooded his entire being when he held our precious little girl and tears just naturally welled up in his eyes while he tried to put on his best smile, hoping that Nikki’s first impression of her father would be good. From a person so fearful of parenting, he was transformed that moment and became a really doting dad to our 3 children.

God, a Father

The Lord impressed upon me that is how precious we are to God our Father. 

How He looks at us. 

How He feels about us. 

What a privilege it is when Jesus himself said we can call our Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, omnipotent and powerful, holy and majestic – Father, in the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-10:

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

The family is the most important relationship in the kingdom of God. 

Therefore, in COBS we regard the home as the most important community of God.

 

THE FAMILY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPO IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THEREFORE, IN COBS WE REGARD THE HOME AS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMUNITY OF GOD

 

The First “Church”

Adam and Eve were the first family and they formed the first home church because they were created to fellowship with God. 

Similarly for COBS, it starts with and from the family – COBS is firstly the church at home. The home where Jesus is head and God is our Father. 

My first Bible teacher Boon once said that our relationship with God tends to take after our relationship with our earthly father. If we have a loving and trusting relationship with our father, then we tend to see God as a loving God whom we can easily trust and depend on. 

I think this is very true. I had a very jovial, trusting and reverential relationship with my late father. My mother raised us to (healthily) fear my dad and serve him. 

We had to set his chopsticks and spoon by his bowl of rice or porridge on his place at the dining table at every meal and invite him to come dine. I was personally responsible for his afternoon bath. I would boil a kettle of water, mix it with cold water to form a nice warm bath, and hang his towel and his undergarments up in the bathroom. Finally, I would wake him up gently from his mid-day nap for his bath, before he went out again to conduct his business. 

My father would reward me with a tender smile. He called me “siok nek” in Teochew (our Chinese dialect) meaning “my precious flesh”. 

He was very generous to us and made sure we were all well fed; all 13 of his children! He often told us stories at the dining table and I would always sit enthralled while my siblings all found excuses to run away as they had heard them over and over again. He and my mother would sometimes joke with one another (especially when she needs extra money from him ☺) and I remember a lot of laughter and warmth between them.

I guess in the same way, my relationship with my Abba Father was equally reverential, trusting, warm, tender and wonderful.

Therefore, it is important that our home is a place of love, trust, joy, patience, kindness, safety, rest, comfort, kinship and intimacy so that our relationship may provide a healthy model of the heavenly relationship between the Father and His Son. 

And for our children, a home raised in the love and fear of God, our Heavenly Father.

 

 

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