I had the privilege of being raised by a Godly man. It was an honor to have my Daddy baptize me when I decided to give my life to Christ. He wasn’t raised knowing and loving Christ and understanding the ultimate sacrifice that was given for him. He was drafted for the Army and sent to Vietnam and didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. He didn’t have that comfort of knowing that regardless of what happens during war, that Jesus gave his life for us, if we only believe and obey his word. My mom was able to share the gospel with him and he made the best decision of his life, the decision to put on Christ in baptism and have his sins washed away. My Dad made sure that I didn’t have that same dilemma growing up. He made sure we always went to church, whenever we could. He followed in the footsteps of Joshua in leading our household and making sure we served the Lord. When my grandfather was dying, I was able to hold his hand and tell him that his son, my dad, was an excellent father because he taught me about a Heavenly father that loves us so. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge.” We have a heavenly father that loves all of us this much. He doesn’t want us to miss out on any of the grace and glory he has to offer us. He gave us these godly fathers so that we can have a representation of who He is.
My Dad is wise, patient, and strong. He was a firefighter, business owner, and an active deacon in our church. Now he is retired and still working hard. As a father, one of his roles was disciplinarian. One specific incident has always stuck with me. I was probably in middle school and was journaling at this time. My adolescent mind was experimenting with different words that I wouldn’t ever say in front of my parents, but writing them down was simply “expressing how I felt.” I laugh at this now, and cringe as I’m now a parent of a middle schooler and I’ve got no clue how I’d react if I found her writing things that she wasn’t allowed to say in front of me. My Dad read this journal and unbeknownst to me, had it in his possession. He asked me to grab my Bible and read some scriptures to him. I thought it was weird that my Dad would want me to read verses out loud to him, but I liked doing it and proudly obliged. I probably read about 5 different verses out loud to him and started seeing a theme of idle words and taming my tongue. Then, in his wise way, my Daddy handed me my journal and asked me to read this out loud to him. Never had I felt so humbled and so guilty for choices I had made. There was no way I could read those words to my Dad. We were both a little teary eyed by the end of this lesson, but it sure has stuck with me all my days.
It makes me think of Psalms 103:13 that says, As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; My Dad was quick to show compassion to me and I try to remember that when discipling my children. Just as my Dad was compassionate towards me, he also made sure I was disciplined and held responsible for the choices I made. Our heavenly father, just like our earthly father, will discipline us and expects us to show him obedience and follow His word. Proverbs 3: 12 reads “For whom the Lord loves, he reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
My Dad has taught me a lot about patience. He has been a successful business owner and had to overcome obstacles that got in his way. He has quit business ventures that started to appear shady or not reputable. He has been in situations that people did wrong by him, and yet he acted in a way that was honest and Christlike. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” He perseveres and doesn’t give up, even when tasks are difficult. Several times throughout his work here on earth, Jesus was ridiculed, treated unfairly, and persecuted. At the end of John chapter 8 we read that the Jews picked up stones to throw at Him. We read in Mark 3: 21 how his own family was saying He had “lost his senses.” Yet Jesus didn’t give up. He was patient and fulfilled his mission. We likewise should be patient. We shouldn’t give up when the going gets tough. We need to be steadfast.
Finally, my Daddy is strong. He is a strong Christian that isn’t afraid to work. I already mentioned he was a deacon in the congregation that I grew up in and he worked hard. He was always using his skills in construction to help with things at the building and he also helped with the contribution by counting and depositing it each week. Not only is he strong spiritually, but physically as well. My Dad is currently living with prostate cancer. A cancer that killed his best friend. This cancer, he’s had 3 times now. The first time he was diagnosed with it, he had his prostate removed and thought he was cancer free but several years later the cancer cells grew back and he had to go through radiation. Currently, a third time these cells have come back and he is working with doctors that specialize in this cancer and together they are seeking the best method of attack. He is a fighter, but his strength doesn’t compare to that of our Lord and Savior. Jesus’ strength and power is unmatchable. He calmed the sea, he healed the blind, he made the lame to walk again. Then, He showed us that most heroic feat by dying on the cross for our sins. He begged to God, “Let this cup pass from me.” Yet the father knew what needed to be done. Jesus was so strong that he took on your sins and mine and suffered on that cross, even though He knew no sin. We need to learn from this example. We need to understand that there will be times that we want to quit. Times that may seem too much to bear, yet we are made in His image, and we can persevere. We can work hard for what we believe in.
I’m blessed that both my parents love the Lord with all their hearts. When I look at scripture and think of how my Dad acts, I can see God in him. He isn’t perfect. He is flawed. He is human. But, He is my Dad and I love him so. Joshua 1: 9 reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” This is how my Dad lives his life. Strong and Courageous. This is the example that our heavenly father has given us as well. “Do not be afraid”. Do you know that these words or a similar meaning to these words are found in scripture 365 times? That is once for every day of the year. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41: 10. One last scripture that I’m going to end with sums up the example my Daddy has set for me, and our Heavenly father has set for all of us. This is Ephesians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
By Heather Powell
Heather, the wife of Justin and mom to Ellie and Hayden, is a former teacher that now has the privilege to be a stay at home mom. She calls Rock Hill, SC home. She has taught numerous classes at The Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road including both children and women’s classes. She is an intermittent blogger and hopes to some day write a women’s bible study book and speak at Ladies Days. She loves hanging with her family, coffee, the beach and entertaining.