My father has been gone since 2009. I remembered him on his birthday, the 16th of June, and thought how blessed I was to have had a father like him. He was a man of God, a nice person, a wonderful husband, and a great dad, and he made sure that our needs were met physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He was a disciplinarian who did what he could to teach us right from wrong despite our rebellious teenage tendencies. He constantly told my siblings and me that we were precious in the sight of God. He would say to each one of us, “You are the best of the girls” or “You are the best of the boys” (as the case may be). And at least once a year, he pronounced blessings upon each of his children. I loved my dad. He was the first special man in my life, and I am so thankful that he was my earthly father.
As Father’s Day approaches, and I think of my earthly father, I also think of my heavenly Father. I have been reflecting on the goodness of God this week and how far the Lord has brought the entire family and me. In addition, Wednesday’s Bible Study topic, “Living by Grace,” also gave me something to ponder. I realized that as much as my earthly father did what he could to provide for my needs and protect me, it was my heavenly Father who loved and still loves me the most.
As I shared during Bible Study on Wednesday, my younger sister Grace was ill to the point where she could not care for herself. She was a single mother with two young children at the time. She couldn’t perform her own activities of daily living, let alone care for her young kids. I had to step in temporarily as her primary caregiver while the family decided on a long-term plan. During the three months that I cared for her, I saw our heavenly Father’s hand at work every day. Grace woke up every morning with a song of praise on her lips. Since it was difficult for her to breathe, she hummed the songs, and I sang them aloud. She refused to have a commode placed in the living area where she spent most of her day or to have one brought in when she needed it. She would say, “Sister Naajah, give me a moment to talk to my Father first.” She would pray, gather courage, and somehow make it to the bathroom and back. As many times as she needed to use the bathroom, she prayed for strength and thanked the Lord for enabling her walk to the bathroom to perform a function that we all take for granted. This was a daily occurrence, and I marveled at the love that the Lord poured out to my sister.
I learned from Grace how to be thankful for the gift of sleeping and waking up and for the gift of family, friends, the Church, and the breath of life. As ill as she was, she was constantly thankful for everything in her life. She gave me a new meaning to the song “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” She talked about the love of our heavenly Father daily and openly declared it to her friends when she counseled them on various issues. At that stage in her life, her whole being was wrapped in God’s love for her and all who believed in his son Jesus Christ. John 3:16 reminds us of this: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (KJV). My sister was a witness for Jesus Christ and always shared her faith with all with whom she came into contact.
So, as we celebrate Father’s Day, no matter what kind of an earthly father you have or had, be thankful that you have a heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally. He loves us so much that he sent His son Jesus to die for you and me. He has promised that someday, we will dwell with Him forever and ever. Until then, he has given us the Holy Spirit to be our helper. What a gift! Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful men of CICC!! We love you and appreciate each one of you! – Pastor Christina Nyen