In thinking about the things, I needed to consider for this week's bulletin information and other church news, my attention was drawn to the date for Sabbath--March 26. And then my thoughts went to why this next week has special meaning for me. In two days, it would have been my father's birthday if he were still alive. My father had and will always have a special place in my heart. If he were still alive, he would be 104 years old. I miss him terribly! But I would not wish to have him with me today if he had to continue in his same body and the conditions that disease had given him. I am so looking forward to the day of resurrection and his brand-new body.
If I could think of one word that represents my father, it might be the word integrity. He had a "good name" and was respected in the community and even more--respected in our family and by me. I always felt "safe" because of having my father in my life. With him, my world was generally "all right!" Even today, his name lends respect to our family as we interact in the community. I thank him and others in my family for that.
He was in my mind, the ultimate father. He provided for us, he taught us how to work and how to have fun. He played with us. He planned vacations for us. He prayed with us. He taught us manners--especially at the kitchen table. He disciplined us. He spent Sabbath afternoons with us. He went and took us to church every Sabbath. He sang to us. He wrote to me when I was away. His family was important to him. He visited us when we lived far away. He rescued us. He took us to interesting places. He was the head of the family. He had a spiritual life and set an example for us. He was firm in his convictions. My father never preached a sermon, but He lived one every day. He was a farmer and loved the land. He loved and was proud of his children. He taught me to love the beauty of this world even though sin had marred it. He taught me to love reading. He taught me that when there is a job to be done anywhere--home, church, community--then do it! Even if you don't have a talent for it. He never said no when it came to helping me with my math problems though he sometimes did say "wait." Then I would have to check back with him the next morning to learn the answer to my questions. Sometimes I tried to hide my disobedience of having my light on past time to be in bed. I covered up the floor register with a rug thinking that he would never know--but he always did!
When I think of my ultimate earth father--then I must also think of the real Ultimate Father—our Heavenly Father. He too has a Good Name. He has the respect of almost everyone, from the leaders of nations to the poorest of the poor and even Satan. Because of Him, we can have safety-- safety from the evils that are being afflicted on this world because of sin. My Heavenly Father sometimes needs to discipline me but then shows me that I am loved. God longs to spend Sabbath afternoons with me. I crave those times both now and in the future. I want to invite Him to go on a Sabbath afternoon walk with me. Perhaps we will find a beautiful crystal or a great big agate or the first trillium of the week or a hidden waterfall or a quiet spring pool or look out from the top of a mountain. (Things I did with my own father.) Maybe we will travel to a new world to discover its treasures. I am so glad that He wants to create a beautiful New Earth/Land for us to enjoy.
So many parallels when comparing my earthly father to our Ultimate Heavenly Father!! As much as I wish I could speak with my father, I so want to speak face to face with my Heavenly Father too!
I sometimes forget that God is at the Head of my life--I don't follow his instruction as often as I should. I can't hide and cover up my deeds. Yet He has promised to forgive and love me anyway. I always have questions but not one of my questions is too hard for My Father. He has all the answers. God has taught me that if I am willing, He will take me and give me things to do in ways that I never thought I could try.
God thought that what he created was good! There is so much that is good--except for what man has destroyed. My Heavenly Father loves His children, He has a huge family that is ever increasing! Yet He does not shy from providing for them. He wants His Family to grow without number! My own father could sing but he didn't give me a singing voice--still, I am sure that we will, together in Heaven along with thousands of other voices singing our Father's praise.