Her tiny, pale hand refused to pry itself from her father’s gruff yet gentle grasp. Delilah, a wisp of a girl with ginger curls, was torn between letting go of the safety she found in her father’s hand and the tempting freedom of riding her now training wheel free bike for the first time.
“It’s alright pumpkin,” said her father reassuringly as he gazed into her wide hazel eyes. “I will be right beside you the whole way.”
For the briefest of moments, Delilah’s furrowed brow gave her the look of a worried sixty year old rather than the spirited seven year old she was. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, her fear was gone. She knew her father would be there for her. She also knew that Jesus was with her as well. Since last week’s Sunday school lesson, Delilah had nearly driven her parents to the brink with her non-stop performances of “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
“Okay, daddy. I’m ready,” she replied semi-confidently. She took a deep breath and pedaled with all her heart. Away she went with the wind in her face and ginger ringlets bouncing around. As she finally came to a stop, the exhilaration was evident on her freckled face and in her shining smile. Her excitement propelled her at record speed into the waiting arms of her father. Her words tumbled over one another and were peppered with giggles as she recounted her driveway adventure to her adoring father.
“And best of all,” she breathlessly gasped. “I did it because you and Jesus helped me.”
Her slender, pale hand refused to pry itself from her father’s gruff yet gentle grasp. Delilah, a stunning girl with ginger curls, was nervous about letting go of the safety she found in her father’s hand and taking her first step toward the man waiting at the altar.
“It’s alright pumpkin,” said her father reassuringly. “I’ll be right beside you the whole way.”
She looked into her father’s weathered, but kind eyes and found the comfort she had so often sought over the past 25 years. It filled Delilah’s heart with joy to be given in marriage to the Godly man to be her husband, by the Godly man who was her father.
“Thanks dad,” she whispered and fought back a tear. “I’m so blessed to be your daughter. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without you. Thanks for giving me the confidence to stand up for my beliefs and for showing me how a Godly man is supposed to live.”
Her soft, pale hand refused to pry itself from her father’s frail and weathered grasp. Delilah, the expectant mother with ginger waves, sat at her father’s bedside trying in vain to keep a smile on her face in case he happened to wake. How could this be happening now? She was supposed to be in the prime of her life enjoying each day with her husband and preparing for their first child, not facing the loss of the man who had been her rock.
“It’s alright pumpkin,” her father quietly said.
“Oh, dad I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to wake you,” Delilah said as she willed away her tears.
Her father smiled. Feeling her heart crack, Delilah began to cry in earnest. “I can’t do this without you. You’ve always been beside me the whole way.”
As he had done so many times before, Delilah’s father took her hand in his. “Look at the beautiful, confident woman of God you have become. All those times I was beside you, encouraging you, we weren’t alone. I could give you strength because God gave me strength. Even though I may not always be here in body, my strength will still be with you because it’s His strength that I have to give to you.”
It was crisp, cool morning as Delilah walked away from the graveside. The ache in her chest was like an iron band around her heart. Knowing that she would see her father again in Heaven was comforting, but she wasn’t sure how to deal with the here and now.
“God, I am not sure how to do this,” Delilah prayed. “I need you more than ever. Show me how to be a Godly parent like dad was for me. I can’t do it without you.”
As she went to join the rest of her family, she clearly heard God’s voice in her heart.
“I’ll be right beside you the whole way.”
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