Father’s Day brings many memories. I grew up in a home with parents that
had both attended Bible college and were very involved in the church.
As a result, we were in church every time the doors were open for a service.
We learned to sleep under pews when revival services went long
and to draw very quietly in church.
As we grew into teenagers, we were allowed to sit with our friends in the “youth” section
of the sanctuary as long as it was in the front half of the church.
Dad even made us physically count the pews. I realize now. as a parent, that
the rationale was they would sit farther back
than we did so they could monitor our “attention to the service” and
they didn’t like sitting in the back of the church.
We didn’t need cell phones and text messages to know when we had crossed the line either.
The first warning was Mom would have a slight coughing fit.
The second was Dad would put his hand under the pew and snap his fingers,
and you could hear it no matter where you were in the sanctuary.
If the fingers got snapped you knew to straighten up, because if there was third time
Dad was sending the usher to get you and you had to sit with them for the rest of service.
Oh horrors! Would there have been anything more embarrassing as a teen
than having to sit with your parents in church?!?
I loved hearing evangelists and missionaries speak. They had amazing stories
of God’s saving and healing power. Often, their own stories were of rebellion
and turning away from God but eventual surrender to God’s saving power.
When God saved them, their lives became magnets that drew people to him.
I remember as a teen talking to my dad one week after one of those services.
I shared that I doubted I would have much influence for God
because I had accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a young child
and had lived a “Christian” life ever since. (Don’t get me wrong,
I was not a perfect child by any stretch of the imagination
but neither was I one to rock the boat with open rebellion.)
I didn’t have a phenomenal testimony of God’s saving power
or a story of amazing physical healing that saved me from death.
I felt like I had nothing to offer.
My dad spoke some very wise words to me that day.
He asked me if I didn’t think that God’s power to keep someone from going astray
wasn’t just as miraculous as bringing someone back after they strayed.
He shared his deep conviction that God’s keeping power was
just as important as his saving power.
He pointed to Bible characters such as Joseph and Esther of the Old Testament,
how they did their best to serve God all of their lives
and God used them to save their nation.
They didn’t have testimonies of being saved from lives of deep sin
—theirs were testimonies of being kept by God for his specific purpose.
That day gave me a new appreciation for the power of God in my life.
I am so thankful that I didn’t have to rebel and become a “wild child”
to have a testimony of God’s power. But I am thankful that he saves those who do rebel
and uses their lives for his purposes as I had a “wild child” brother that turned back to God
and has influenced many lives as an educator.
This is the fifth Father’s Day since Dad has been gone.
I miss my dad but know that we will be reunited in heaven some day.
His words and prayers impacted not just my life but the lives of many.
I’m thankful that Dad taught me God’s power could save and keep,
and that power has allowed Him to prepare me to share my heart for home!