Posted on May 7, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
I wasn’t home when my Dad died, so I didn’t get to see him that fateful week. It was to be a big week for him, he was to find out if his name would be placed on the liver transplant list, he had high hopes for a not so likely response. With him gone, I will always be grateful for the Tuesday trips to the zoo. Dad was getting weaker and couldn’t do the ‘grandparent trips’ on his own anymore… so we would pack the cooler with sandwiches, juice boxes, and apples and head off for an adventure. Some of those last trips, he was much slower, but always smiling and enjoying the kids. I would offer to head home earlier than planned, but he would reply, ‘let’s stay awhile.’ I will always be grateful we did.
Time is a commodity you cannot retrieve; once spent, it is forever out of your hands. There are few things I treasure more than time spent well. Times like a shared lunch, a family dinner, an eve, or a ride home. Or maybe a shared hotdog, a diner run, a building project, a new home, or a long ride. Other special times involve stuff like a fire, a canoe, an oyster, a chore, a new school, the lost woods, a boxcar, or an adventure with a raccoon. Some things I will always remember the most are a hand grasping mine, or a quiet night laughing at who figured out the mystery… all of these are the flashes of time that encourage you to take heart and see all God has done. You don’t know how unique the moment will be until you have invested the time… and stayed awhile.
I wonder how often God has invited me to stay awhile… and instead, I made an excuse to rush off..? I wonder what moments I missed because I thought something else would be ‘that thing’ bringing happiness and success… only to find out, if I stayed awhile, I would have known a joyful rest. What if I had listened instead of judged or loved instead of taken control; would I have seen something special God was doing?
My Dad’s death was hard for me, it was another blow at the sense of security a parent brings. In one of those ‘stay awhile’ moments, my Dad said he was proud of me. He didn’t say that stuff often, so it really stuck… especially once he was gone. You don’t truly understand the love of a father for his son until you have your own, or one of them is gone. That security my Dad gave when he was around, it may have been wounded a bit when he passed away, but the certainty of his words that day have stitched up the scars his death left, with a strong thread of my father’s love.
My Dad lived a disciplined life. He was an engineer who spent his days looking over schematics; if it wasn’t in the drawings, it wasn’t part of the plan! He lived his life the same way, if it wasn’t in God’s Word, it wasn’t part of His plan for your life either. I didn’t realize it then, but it was in his discipline that my Dad revealed how much he loved me. I wish I had ‘stayed awhile’ longer when he was trying to teach me this principle, but I had a world to see and didn’t think his rigid perspective fit my plans. It is funny how God sits you down in a chair awhile, to help you understand these things.
If my earthly father’s love can do all that, how much more so, the love of my Heavenly Father? Paul writes, “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 spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12: 9-11)
God has invited us to ‘stay awhile,’ resting in His provision instead of struggling in our own insufficient power. It is this principle our Heavenly Father wants us to grasp; it’s that of living in dependence upon God at work in you, and not trying to survive without Him. If instead, we learn to rest on what God is ready to do in you and through you and around you with confidence that He will do it, then you are living the life God intended for you all along. Paul tells us, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” He then warns us “to make every effort to enter that rest, so that we won’t perish by following the example of those who lived in disobedience to His Word.”
God’s Word was the schematic my Dad lived his life by. It was that blueprint he wanted his children to follow. He did his best, like Paul points out, to give us an example of what that looks like, but understanding these principles requires us to ‘stay awhile.” Just as my Dad provided a home for me to grow up in, God has provided a home called ‘Salvation’ where we can find rest from our struggles. He established its foundation by His Love and completed the framework of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He has covered the walls with His mercy and grace and decorated His home with pardon and hope. You don’t need to fight anymore on your own, come stay awhile in our Heavenly Father’s house and find rest for your weary soul.
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “We reflect God’s character the most when we give freely of ourselves with no strings attached, no secret motives, no hidden agenda.” ―
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” –Matthew 5:43-44
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.