When I was a little girl, my daddy seemed larger than life. In my eyes, he was perfect. He could do anything, fix anything, and included me in whatever he did, no matter how busy he was. Living on a small farm, I often trudged along behind him, down the garden rows, my little bare toes squishing in the sandy Florida dirt. I helped weed or dropped seedlings into holes he dug. Sometimes I chatted or sang while he worked.The only thing I didn’t want to participate in?
I’d hide in the house, crying for our
pets livestock that would go into the freezer and eventually end up
on the dinner table. But I was smart enough to realize food raised meant less
money had to be spent in the store. Hunger is the best spice, Laura Ingalls
Wilder once said. It can also be characterized as a great memory eraser, so I
didn’t cry for long. Death is a necessary part of living—a lesson I learned even more intimately as I lost human loved ones over the years. One that
modern-day parents try to shield their kids from and then wonder why they have
a “why me” mentality when loss occurs.
But I digress.
As I grew older, my dad’s flaws became more apparent to me, and as a teenager, I railed against learning anything from him. Now, at age 50, I’ve come full circle and am hard-pressed to find any man, besides Jesus, who is more perfect than my father.
Among the important things my father taught me is love. Yes, love is taught. Not just modeled or felt, but taught. This meant discipline and rebuke along with affection. My dad is the softest tough man I know. I liken him to a tree surgeon. He pruned and it hurt, but he applied gentle salve to my soul and coaxed my growth with his love.
It wasn’t long before another man, one even more supernatural than my father, appeared in my life. Not surprisingly, a man modeled through my father. And in those tumultuous teenage years, when I felt no one else would listen, Jesus did. He once said the meek shall inherit the earth.
Meek doesn’t mean weakness but rather controlled strength. Jesus loved and hung out with sinners but never condoned their sin. As recorded in the gospels, he often ended an encounter or healing with “go and sin no more.” He understood that the root of most people’s problems is sin. Not a politically correct statement to make anymore but one nonetheless true.
Love is patient and kind, but it also rejects evil and rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NIV). This includes rebuking as Jesus and my father did. Love doesn’t mean excusing bad behavior or not setting boundaries with those unhealthy to be around—no matter how much you love them.
I came to realize rather quickly that these two men were the ones I could count on. Dad and I butt heads about some things, and he can be cantankerous at almost 80 years old, but his spiritual compass points squarely at our Savior and always has.
And Jesus? As the old hymn says, He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He’s provided me comfort when I thought there wasn’t any. He’s given me strength and hope when I had none. He’s promised me a future. He forgives my sins. He calms my anxieties.
Not only through my daily spiritual walk but through His words:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:6-7
Who walks with you on life’s narrow way? If you’ve not met my friend Jesus, why not pick up the Bible and let Him introduce Himself in the gospels? I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. He’ll love you with a love that “protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Do you need prayer today? I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests.
Today, Saturday, and Sunday (9/4-9/6/15) my devotional, While I'm Waiting, will be FREE for Kindle download on Amazon. This will take you on a journey to experience hope and contentment while waiting on an answer to prayer. Also, my most recent project, Path to Love, a Christian romance, is available for FREE from Amazon. Take a moment to download your copies!
© Laura Hodges Poole
“Bible and the Heavens” image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.