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Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

3-Two grandpas - CopyMy dad is my hero.  He is not my only hero, but he is my first. 

At 93, he continues to be my hero because, as my father, he is still teaching me what it means to be human.  In other words, he is teaching me what it means to be a person created in God’s image.  

I’ve always looked at my dad as my hero, but until recently I didn’t truly understand the reasons why.  Early last summer, I asked Dad if he would write his story; a kind of autobiography, if you will.  I promised that I would serve as his editor, creating a book for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Bless my dad’s heart!  He did it!  His willingness to record history and his perseverance to stay on task gives evidence of his respect for family.  More so, it is an act of obedience.  “[T]ell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done” (Ps. 78:4). 

The wonder of my father’s life is that he is a common man set apart for uncommon use.  He writes about a very ordinary life, but therein is the truth about being human.  From ordinary dust of the ground, God formed man to reflect His own extraordinary image.  Dad is the first to admit that he is a poor reflection of God’s image.  In his poor, sinful condition, he could have chosen to follow the pattern of the world.  But he did not because he sees his human identity in light of the fact that he was formed by God’s own hands for God’s own purpose.  My dad’s story proves to me that to be human does not mean to be self-defined, but God-defined.  And in each ordinary life experience recorded by Dad, I see that his identity affects his attitude and behavior. 

As you think about my dad writing his story, bear in mind that he writes with two hands, his left needed to steady his right.  One day, he appeared at my door, asking, “Do you still have that portable electric typewriter?”  By the end of summer, my hero entrusted to me a precious bundle of typewritten papers.  “Here!” said Dad with a knowing grin.  “You have some work to do!”

To be human means to be given work to do.  Work was a privilege given to the first man by His Creator.  It was God’s design that Adam work in the garden and keep it.  As a farmer, my dad has shown me the “thorns and thistles” that sin brought into this world.  I’ve seen the sweat on his brow, but also heard his sigh of accomplishment at the end of a long, hard day.  My dad has shown me that work is neither a punishment nor unpleasant.  When done to the glory of God, it is a source of contentment. 

To be human means to be male or female.  My parents did not preach to me when I was a child about the differences between men and women.  Rather, the behaviors and interaction of my mom and dad demonstrated to me that male and female are the two eyes of the human race, each needed for their unique perspective.   My dad valued my mom’s opinion and help.  He respected her even when she frustrated him.   My dad might not realize it (and perhaps I didn’t either until now), but he showed me that men and women are more than sexual.  God does not say: Be sexual, for I am sexual.  He says, “Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”  Men are especially tempted by sensual thoughts and desires, but my dad showed that because of Jesus Christ, a man (or woman) is not captive to them.

To be human means to have choices.   Dad helped me understand that choices are best made in light of our relationship to God and with trust in His Word because to be human means that Satan will surely slither up to us at the moment of decision, asking: “Did God really say…?”  Adam was given the instruction for life and the warning against death, but he failed to engage Satan with that Word for the sake of his bride.  My dad, being mindful of this, nurtured my respect for men because he’s never stopped trying to lead his family away from harm. 

To be human means to be forgiven.  My dad knows the consequence of sin.  But he also knows that because of Jesus Christ, God’s mercies are new every morning.  If I were to thank my dad for one thing, it would be for helping me understand the free and willing desire of Jesus to be my crucified Lord and Savior.  Easter, for a human being, means nothing without the Cross.

To be human means to suffer.   The only way for God to save humans from themselves was to become one of them.   The Lord Jesus Christ suffered as a human… and He died.  In this sinful world, we suffer, too.  And because of sin, we will die.  But my dad also taught me that to be human means to have hope.  Jesus rose from the grave, ascended back to heaven, and will come again to take God’s weary, but faithful children home.

To be human means to persevere.   Dad has experienced hardship, disappointment, and the loss of his wife, my mom.   But he is my model of daily perseverance no matter the circumstance.  “Keep calm and carry on” is a quote of Winston Churchill, but it is a way of life for my dad.  He has watched this culture change at warp speed, but because he knows that his call to think, act, and live like a Christian changes not, he continues to “run with endurance the race that is set before [him]” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Finally, for the human, “the greatest of these is love.”  Just as God defines humans, so also He defines love.   So, thank you Dad, for not loving carelessly.  Thank you for your patient, kind, and selfless love (1 Cor. 13).  Thank you for showing me “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). 

 

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My husband, Paul, and I just returned from a 35-day road trip through British Columbia and the Yukon of Canada to Alaska and back.  The wonders of God’s creation were always before us… but so were little “lessons for life.”

34-time outSometimes, a gal just needs “time out” from resisting the darkness of the world to be renewed by the Creator of light and life.

 

55-placer mining67-Dredge 8 stories highWhat is the value of one human life? Up in the Klondike of the Yukon, a gold dredge eight stories high running 24/7 that cost $25 million (today’s dollar) and brought in $75,000/day in gold (today’s dollar) was shut down for three days in order to find the body of a man caught in the conveyor and buried in the tailings.

 

79-Matanuska ferry87a-sunset from ferryFor two days, we were aboard the Matanuska Ferry that carried us (and our car) from Haines, Alaska, to Prince Rupert, B.C. The views were breathtaking, but most encouraging and hopeful was the father and his daughter sitting next to us at dinner who bowed their heads and began their meal with “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest… .”

 

1-Paul Linda best Cassiar Hwy - CopyLook at this couple. Do we appear dangerous? A threat to society?  At 2:30 a.m., after driving off the Matanuska ferry and showing our passports at Prince Rupert, B.C., customs, we were pulled out of the line and asked to exit our car while it was searched. Eventually (and with a smile), the border patrol guard gave us permission to proceed. After 3:00 a.m., we were driving the streets in rain and fog hoping to locate our hotel when a fine officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police turned on his lights and pulled us over for “weaving across the yellow line.” When he realized that we had not “been drinking,” but were strangers in a foreign land just off the ferry and seeking safe haven, he graciously gave us directions (with a smile).  The words of Ezekiel 34:12 are comforting: “As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

 

22d-smouldering21-grapes at Osoyoos“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire . . .”  After crossing the border between British Columbia and Washington, we drove in dense smoke; in fact, the forest ground along our highway was still smoldering and I saw flames consuming a fallen tree. The acrid smell permeated our car and clothing. Here and there, it was evident that firefighters, national guardsmen, and neighbors joined to save a house from untamed and restless tongues of fire.  Our tongues are too often untamed and restless. With our tongues, “we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the image of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be so . . .” (James 3:5,10). Instead, like the grapevines that we saw persevering even as fires raged all around, may we bear the good fruit of mercy, patience and kindness.

 

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