Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Ex. 20:12)

A ten-year-old boy feels uncomfortable in a jacket and tie, even if he’s not playing the piano in public. Before this particular ten-year-old finished his assault on a defenseless hymn, those present at the midweek Bible study felt just as uncomfortable as he did. Musically speaking, it bore a strong resemblance to the sinking of the Titanic.

Three times he stumbled on the opening line, and three times he started again. At that point, the unspoken question was not “How will he do?” but “Will he be able to finish?”

Near panic, the boy turned to look at his father, seated on the front row. He was met by a steady, confident look in return—a strong look that seemed to pass along its strength to the nervous boy. Its message was, “You can do this.” Determined to honor the father who had such confidence in him, he tried again, and that time he made it.

I’m probably the only one who remembers that episode from long ago, but I’ll never forget it. I still don’t play very well!

When Christians stumble, we sometimes look foolish and ineffective to a watching world. The temptation is to write off our faith as a failure. Why keep going? Why try again?

But then we sense our heavenly Father’s encouraging presence. He knows our weakness and loves us anyway. That’s what fathers do.

Look up, child of God, and meet his gaze.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. He co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.