Country singer, Paul Overstreet has a song entitled, "My Father in Me". In the song, he talks about resemblances that are passed down from fathers to sons; how fathers and sons walk, talk, stand, sit, what have you. This past September, my family took a day trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, California. Judy, my wife took a picture of my son, Jared, and I was off to the right of the camera. When we got the pictures back, Judy saw that particular picture and said, "I don't need to see a picture of your dad when he was your age, Jim; I see him right here; you are Gene." Sure enough, she was right. I consider it an honor to bear such a striking resemblance to him.
When I was in the second and third grades, my dad would help me with the dreaded math problems. He would write out the problem then walk me through it, telling me to remember to carry the one or drop the two, or whatever the problem was that I was facing. At the end of the homework session, or the following morning, he would remind me of what I needed to pay particular attention to. Going over the equations in math class, whenever I ran into a snag, I would hear Dad saying to me what we went over the previous night. It was a great comfort to me.
There is another image that I have taken on more lately. I hope to grow more and more in this image every day. This image is my Father in Heaven. I seek His wisdom daily. I want to follow His heart. I want to do His will, and let my will subside. You see, my answers don't work, His do. I realized this when I was twenty-five; I was a slow learner.
In the summer of 1984, I was working at a YMCA summer camp. As most camps go, relationships are bound to happen. Dawn was a counselor for the girls as well as a staff worker. Long story short, I was receiving mixed messages. These messages were confusing enough that it was starting to affect my work. My assistant director saw that it was affecting me, so she recommended some down time at the Knolls.
The Knolls was a place about a mile outside of camp, and about one half-mile square. It overlooked the towns of Banning and Beaumont, California. Just me, my 65 Ford and the Lord. I started to pray:
"Oh Lord, Most Sovereign Father." What came next was not from my own thought process.
"That's not what you want to talk to me about."
I was stunned, yet I continued, "My Heavenly Father, hear my prayer."
Again, I was interrupted, "That's not what you want to tell me."
Once again I started,” Lord,"
"Jim, tell me what's on your heart"
"God, you're unfair!!!"
"Good, now we can talk!"
Oh, how I talked. I told Him about my confusion with Dawn and with the Y. Just like Moses, I wasn't sure if this was going to work out. He then told me that I was there for the kids, not to find a girlfriend; that would come later. I was there for a purpose, and I was to be obedient to His will. I was the man He wanted there. I felt very humbled and very honored that night. Here I was, carrying on a conversation with my Father; the lover of my soul and the architect of me, just like I was talking to my father about my math problems. From that night on, I would continue to seek my Papa's voice, either through prayer, Scripture, or just being silent and waiting. I learned that no matter how big I thought my problems were, God was a big enough God to handle them, I was not alone. I also learned that whatever glory I received, I should immediately give it to Him.
When I was in second grade, my father's voice gave me comfort. His coaching got me through the tough multiplication tables as well as long division. Now as a grown man, God's voice is guiding me through problems that I am faced with in my life as an employee, father, husband, or just average citizen; and when the answers do come, I need to remember who gave me the answers, and give Him the Glory. As Debbie Porter puts it so well in her article Proclaiming His Praises, "receive the thanks and appreciation graciously and allow God to use it as a hug from His heart to yours. Then after receiving it, give all the glory and honor to Him, because He is most worthy to be praised."
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