Saturday, July 3, 2010

"If" by Rudyard Kipling ( Part 2)

I love the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling . . . thirty-two lines of wisdom that provide possibly the best instruction in manliness (why not womanliness, too?) written by a father to his son. The father concludes that if  his son will assimilate this good advice into his conduct, then

"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"
Yesterday we considered the father's first bit of instruction. Today we'll look at his second and consider biblical illustrations to flesh it out. 

"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;"

Don't we all need affirmation? Is there any among us who truly doesn't care what anyone else thinks? Have you ever had to stand alone in a place where all men doubted you? Job did. Jesus did.
Job went from being a highly visible, highly respected, wealthy elder in the town to a penniless and pathetic man, bereft of family, friends, status, and health. His former friends turned on him and accused him of sins he had never committed. Though Job was miserable, he trusted enough in himself not to yield to external pressure. He knew he was innocent and appealed to God for an explanation (his one faux pas.).

Jesus also suffered abandonment of man--He went to the cross a lonely Savior. Even His disciples forsook him and ran for cover. Yet He trusted in Himself as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Though He pleaded with God to take away the cup of suffering from Him, yet He submitted to the will of God. Unlike Job, he did not ask for an explanation--Jesus knew the reason for His suffering.

Jesus made allowance for the doubting of men. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." 

After God humbled Job (chapters 38-41) by giving him a glimpse of His majesty, Job no longer felt a need for any explanation. Instead he felt compassion for his friends (who were about to come under God's judgment for their treatment of him) and, like Jesus, made allowance for their doubting and interceded on their behalf.

The interesting thing is that after Job interceded for those who doubted him, his former earthly glory was restored . . . just as Jesus was restored to glory in the highest and given a name that is above every name.

What can we learn from this? When we are doubted by all, the place to go is to the Father who will help us by:
  • showing us where we are wrong and helping us make restitution, or
  • showing us where we are right and helping us to stand alone, and
  • helping us make allowance for those who doubt us until they come to the knowledge of the truth.
If you can do that, you will have accomplished the second of many challenges this earthly father has put to his son. Keep it up and you are on your way to being a man, or woman, the Father can be proud of.

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