You have been gone five years from my life now. I must tell you that each and every day of my life I miss you so much. I keep a picture of you as a five year old boy on my desk. I have another of the last time we were together. I still see that patient, kind and always grateful expression on your face that characterized your 87 years on this earth.
Your lack of complaining, your deep gratitude and constant thanksgiving to God for the life He gave you, and the focus you had on serving others amazed me then and continues to inspire me to this day.
For Dad yours was not an easy life. You were born in a sod house on the windswept plains of North Dakota, you nearly died of diphtheria when you were less than three months old, you grew up in the grinding poverty of the Great Depression and the suffocating Dust bowl storms that buried the land in silt, you lost your godly mother to rheumatic fever when you were just 17 and at her graveside you pledged never to do anything to dishonor her memory, then just a few years later you watched as other planes exploded in flames right next out your window as you piloted your heavy bomber over the wicked anti-aircraft fire of Nazi Germany, you then returned home from the war only to learn you had lost your share of the farm to a cynical relative, you went on to build your first home for our family from a house you bought and literally pulled out of a river after a flood swept through the town, later you no doubt felt helpless as your youngest daughter struggled with a childhood disease for four long years that nearly took her life, later you sold shoes at a department store and pumped gas during summer months so you could support us and put yourself through school for an advanced degree…
And the list goes on…no Dad, yours was not an easy life.
Dad despite all this I never once heard you complain, feel sorry for yourself or blame God for all your hardships. Instead you took us all to church each and every Sunday, handed out bulletins faithfully an usher for decades on end, read devotions at the supper table, welcomed an array of missionaries and pastors to our home, and served our church whenever, however and for as long as they asked you to.
Even though you struggled to raise a family of four children on a modest teacher’s salary (and salaries were very modest in those days) you chose to take in a foster child in need of a home. He stayed with us for the rest of his growing up years and he went on to become a youth pastor that is still serving kids even to this day.
When I told you I felt called to the ministry as a senior in high school you supported that decision every step of the way. You helped pay so I could go to a Christian college, you gave me a car to go to a seminary some 800 miles away, you came to all my graduations, my ordination and you visited every one of the churches I ever served.
When Mom suffered a stroke and was about to die after 55 years of marriage, you took me aside in the hospital and said, “Son, loving someone means there is a time to hold on, and love means there is a time to let go.”
So on this Father’s Day Dad I say thank you for showing me how a man of integrity should live, for modeling that it is better to give than to receive, and for loving my Mom, we five children and later on our spouses and our children, and most of all for loving Jesus.
I shall never forget one of the last days you and I spent together on earth. It was at the Holy Land Experience in Florida. You sat in a wheelchair as you, my brother and I watched their version of the Passion Play. And when they hung Jesus on the Cross and He cried out “It is finished…” I looked over and saw the tears running down your face. That said it all to me.
And when you unexpectedly died one evening a few months later living in another state, my heart was broken. I had suddenly lost my life-long friend, my example and my earthly father. Yet even that night I knew you and Mom were together again…and after your 70 long years of patiently waiting and believing, you were now reunited with your own sweet mother once again as well. For that I could only rejoice.
Dad I’ll admit there are so many days I wish I could pick up the phone and ask you what to do. But at times like that I look over at the picture of you on my desk and somehow I know what you would do — and therefore what I must do.
I look forward to seeing you again, more so with each year that passes. Until then thank you for leaving me and the others in our family an example of a life well lived. By the way, you’d be pleased to know that just the other day one of my own grown sons told me when he has a boy he’s going to name him after you — Homer.
Dad we all miss you but as 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 promises, we shall meet again and this time never to separate again. Until then thank you for everything. Love, your son. Bob
Morning Show Notes
Why Father’s Day can be hard for many people including yourself…
- Your father is now gone (and you loved him very much) – never got to say goodbye.
- Your father is in failing health or doesn’t know you any longer.
- Your father and you are estranged from one another.
- You father left or abandoned your family when growing up.
- Your never knew your father (and the man living in your home doesn’t like you and vice-versa).
What are some key ways to begin healing…or at least cope…
With a death…Live in the hope of being reunited found in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
With unresolved issues…live in the complete acceptance of who you are found in Matthew 3:16-17
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
With abandonment…live in the certainty God wanted you found in Psalm 139: 13-18
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
With sexual abuse…live in the promise of the healing of your heart found in Isaiah 61:1-6
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.
With verbal/emotional abuse…live in the freedom of God’s bigger plan for your life of Genesis 45:1-7
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]
With disconnection…live in the prayerful expectancy of the fulfillment of Malachi 4: 5-6
5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will [e]restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a [f]curse.”
Encouragement for Father’s Today…It’s never too late..1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
0 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
Mom’s Advice to their Children…
Honor your father…
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
Obey your father…
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-2
Respect your father…
8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spiritsand live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 8:10-12
Love your father…
Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. 2 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, 3 taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. (Genesis 50:1-3)