The Faith of My Father

IMG_0687My Dad is the man who has most influenced my life and, more importantly, my faith. If I could say but one thing in honor of him it would be this: Dad, your faith has saved my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I can’t get to heaven on someone else’s faith, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “borrowed” the faith of my father. I imagine God has written on a very lengthy scroll the many stories of wonder-working power unleashed by this man I am proud to call my earthly father. The man who has most modeled the love of my heavenly Father. The man who has walked a spiritual journey full of confidence and courage and boldness in his quest to make faith come alive in the eyes of those who know him and love him.

You do know that faith is one of God’s spiritual gifts, don’t you? Dad has many God-given talents, but when he gave his life to Christ, God blessed him with the spiritual gift of faith. Dad possesses several fine gifts of the Spirit, but the gift of faith? Well, let me just say, God has properly wow-ed him. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that God has given my father so much faith that he has an abundance to share with others, an overflow to sweep them off their feet. A flood of faith to inspire, encourage, and spur others on. Over the years as I’ve struggled and wavered many times in my own spiritual journey the faith of this incredible man  has rubbed off onto me more times than I can count and made me a woman who chases hard after God. Because if I can have just a measure of my father’s faith, I will have a pretty plenty.

I’m convinced my father’s name is written in the Hall of Faith of modern-day spiritual heroes. Not only is he my hero, but I don’t doubt for one minute that he wears a cape and super-hero-tshirt in the eyes of many who have had the privilege of knowing him over the years. His faith is the stuff of legends, the kind that tells a story and keeps on going, the kind that leaves behind a lasting impression, a legacy.

It’s the kind of faith that rains down. Like manna. It comes in on the early morning dew and a whole crowd is fed, nourished, and satisfied. This kind of faith isn’t easily forgotten. Neither is the one who possesses it.

How can you forget someone whose faith in God’s power never seems to lack trust?

How can you forget someone whose faith in God’s plan never seems to lose heart?

How can you forget someone whose faith in God’s purpose never seems to forfeit hope?

How can you forget someone whose faith in God’s provision never seems to express doubt?

How can you forget someone whose faith in God’s protection never seems to know fear?

How can you forget someone whose faith in the Sovereignty of God is firm, steadfast, and sure? I think instead of a question mark here I need a period. This is the essence of my father’s faith. Trusting in the Sovereignty of God. That’s it. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.

You can’t forget that kind of faith. You can’t.

I can’t. I don’t. I won’t.

That’s why I want the faith of my father. That’s why I strive and persevere and press on in my journey of faith. Because I know God is real. I know that walking by faith and not by sight really can be a way of life. And no one on this earth has ever made it so real to me as this man whom God entrusted with my life.

Oh, gosh, Dad, what can I say? I have tears pooling in my eyes as I type because I love you so much. And I thank God for you from the bottom of my heart. I thank Him for giving you this gift so you can share it with me and show me how to live it. How wonderfully blessed I am for the riches of grace you have freely passed along to me that I may in turn pass them along to my children. I want to see generations of God-seekers learning to trust in the greatness and goodness of our mighty God because of your example.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers…” Deuteronomy 30: 19-20

Dad, you will never know how grateful I am that you gave your life to Christ so that I would one day come to do the same. You’ll never know how grateful I am that you chose life. One day you’re going to walk through the pearly gates of heaven and a sea of faces will stand ready to greet you, grinning from ear-to-ear, unable to contain their joy, because if not for you they wouldn’t know this precious gift, either. My active imagination paints this beautiful picture for me and no daughter could possibly be prouder than I am of you. Yes, I can imagine it because it’s this faith that makes the gates of heaven real to me, the joy of heaven certain and the God of heaven alive and on the throne! All because of you.

The faith of my father…I may have borrowed it from time-to-time, but these days I believe it for myself and I trust in it.

And maybe…hopefully…blessedly…richly…my faith has come alive for others in such a way that the legacy lives on.

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