Pastor Bob #2

  • Nov. 17, 2011
  • #7709

Joni interviews Pastor Bob Bjerkaas about how he has learned to model for his son turning his grieved face to the Almighty.

Joni: Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada for Joni and Friends. And this is the place where you will always hear me talking about God’s Word, of course, but always talking about disability… especially families affected by disabilities, that’s why I want to welcome my pastor, Bob Bjerkaas of Church in the Canyon where Ken and I attend. 

Joni: Bob, thanks for coming.

Bob: Thanks for having me.

Joni: And you have four children; one of them has a disability – other multiple handicapping conditions thrown in there – it just makes it a bit of a challenge, doesn’t it?

Bob: Yes, it does.

Joni: And I just bet you might have some words of wisdom for dads who might be tuning in.

Bob: Yes, and this actually springs in part off of a radio show I once heard you do on anger.

Joni: What was that?

Bob: Well, you were talking about the passage from James about how important it is to put away all anger for anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God. And I’m a man and I understand how men think – at least more or less – and I know that men, for better or worse often we see something happen that’s not right, we see something happen that’s not just and we often get angry.

Joni: Oh, not you!

Bob: No, sometimes me! I want to share you a story about that. You know I have a son and he has some neurological challenges. He has epilepsy and has a very severe tic disorder…

Joni: …Kind of like repetitive behavior, obsession with a certain flapping of hands…

Bob: Yes, or verbal guttural where certain unnecessary syllables are interjected into words or rapid eye movement that is not controlled. We all know, especially those of us who remember our childhood, kids can be fairly cruel to other kids.

Joni: Right. So your son has these tics and…

Bob: And he came home one day and he wasn’t doing well (and when I come home I always track down each one of my children and tell them I love them and missed them and ask them how their day was) and he said it was the worst day ever. And that is not an uncommon thing. You know it’s amazing how many “worst days ever” children can have, but in talking to him he had been teased by children and as a dad I started to get very angry and I could feel the blood pressure boiling and starting to see a little bit red. My impulse was to go and track down the parents of the kids who had ruined my son’s day and set them straight. One of the things I immediately noticed was that my son was starting to reflect my attitude

Joni: Really!

Bob: Yes! He was starting to get angry as well and it gave me a moment – I think one of the moments where God gave me an opportunity to sort of have this “a-ha”. What my son needed was not to get angry or to see me get angry or to see me get angry. What he needed to do is to direct his lament to his God and I think one of the things I have learned as a father is how important it is to yes in righteous ways defend my children and protect them, but as a dad I have got to be able to model turning my grieved face to the Almighty. There is a beautiful phrase –sometimes it doesn’t come out in all the translations in Psalm 77 – but in the midst of suffering and experiencing the affects of fallenness in my own family in my life of my children’s family means so much to me I have to come along side of my son and weep with him when he has a bad day because we are living this side of heaven…

Joni: …Instead of getting angry at the kids on the playground…

Bob: …Instead of getting angry because that anger is counterproductive, it’s isolating and it’s arrogant.

Joni: Well, there must be some dads listening, Bob, who get angry at their kids for one reason or another or their kids friends, if that child has a disability, so thanks so much for your wisdom and your insight from your own son.

Bob: Well, thank you.

Joni: And once again let me remind you of our website. Come by and visit us any time. It’s joniandfriends.org.    

© Joni and Friends

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