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Proud Poppas
by Jerry Rasmussen
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We are our heavenly Father’s children
And we all know that He loves us one and all
He Knows How Much We Can Bear – Roberta Martin

There’s nothing like the pride a father feels about his son, just as there is nothing like a mother’s love. They say, “He’s like a chip off the old block!” The apostle Paul wrote to the men of Gallatia,

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts.
Galatians 4:6 KJV

In all the references to God in the bible, one of the most moving is when Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane contemplating his coming crucifixion on the cross. Jesus turned to his father, not as the creator of the Universe but as his daddy, calling out to him in his distress.

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt. Mark 14:36 KJV

The word Abba reflects the personal, intimate relationship Jesus had with his father. It translates closest to our word, “daddy.” As earthly daddies we can understand the love and pride that God has for his children. We feel the same way.

Few things fill a father’s heart with pride as much as when he sees his children treating others lovingly. His chest bursts with pride and he says to himself, “That’s my son!” This was one of those occasions.

On the surface, there was nothing unusual about having dinner at my parent’s home with my two sons. For most families, that’s a commonplace experience. For us, it was a long awaited chance for our family to be together. Living a thousand miles away and not being able to bring my sons home before, made this an evening to remember. Earlier that day, I had taken my sons Gideon and Aaron out shopping and Aaron had asked if I’d buy him a can of Hubba Bubba soda. From the start, it sounded like a bad idea. At the time, Hubba Bubba was the most popular brand of bubblegum but the thought of pink, artificially sweetened carbonated bubble gum-flavored soda was enough to kill my appetite. But, we were on vacation and what’s a vacation for if you don’t try things that you don’t do every day back home. When we sat down for dinner, the chilled can of Hubba Bubba soda was placed next to Aaron’s dish, and as soon as grace was said, he popped the can and took a swig of the soda. I could see from the expression on his face that my suspicions about the wisdom of bubblegum flavored soda were right. It was all that Aaron could do not to spit it out. The soda went down his throat kicking and screaming.

“Yuck! This stuff is TERRIBLE!” Aaron exclaimed setting the can down emphatically on the table. “There’s no way I’m going drink any more of this!”

“You should always finish anything that is served to you at the table” my father advised.

My father took pride in being willing to eat anything, and I know he was raised not to waste food. So was I. The reality was that while my father might be willing to eat anything, he didn’t like 90% of everyday dishes and he’d let you know about it. He was strictly a fried meat and potatoes man, with a side dish of vegetables from the garden.

Without missing a step, Aaron asked, “Why don’t you taste it, Grandpa?” And the gauntlet was flung. When my father reached over to take the can of Hubba Bubba, the table went silent. All eyes were on him as he lifted the can to his lips and took a sip of the soda. It took all of my father’s willpower to swallow a mouthful of the soda and the face he made betrayed his attempt to make it look like he was enjoying the drink. Without saying a word, he sat the can on the table. After a moment’s pause, Aaron asked the question that we all wanted to ask.

“How do you like it, Grandpa?”

There was no hint of disrespect or sarcasm in Aaron’s voice.

“It’s good,” said my father without much enthusiasm.

And we continued on with our meal.

After dinner, with the can sitting untouched on the table, I asked the boys to help clear the table and help me do the dishes. The can of Hubba Bubba soda was unceremoniously dumped down the kitchen sink without a word from anyone. It was still almost full, with only two sips gone, but no one suggested putting it in the refrigerator. We loved my father too much to do that. The thing that really pleased me was the respectful restraint my sons showed. They could have made it difficult for my father by saying, “Come on, Grandpa! You started drinking that soda and you said that when you started something at the table, you should finish it.” I was a very proud Poppa at that moment. They allowed my father to save face without challenging him. When I was their age, I wouldn’t have been so gracious.

If I was so proud of my sons, can you imagine how proud God is? With a son as good as Jesus, who could blame Him? When Jesus took Peter. James, and John up onto the mountain, God spoke out of a cloud and said:

This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 17:5 KJV

Like God, I was well pleased with my sons. Two proud poppas.

And like God, I could say. These are my beloved sons.

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