Yes, I am back for a walk with you on this day Father’s Day. You see, I have been very busy. You ask, “Busy doing what? You are retired from the active ministry, aren’t you?”
I’m retired, that is true BUT my energy has slowed way, way down. That is my problem. My dreams are still very much alive, but now when I am working at my carpentry projects, I find for every half hour or fifteen minutes I have to rest for four minutes and three seconds. I set the alarm on my phone, and Itry to sit still for that time. The three seconds just gives me a little more time! Then I get up and work again. This process repeats all day long until I climb the mountainous stairs to go to bed. Yes, at my age, I go to bed a lot earlier than I ever used to do.
The projects I have been working on are getting completed one by one. I have finished the woodshed at the rear of my garage in which I will store my lumber, and now I am working on a small garden tool shed for Dale.
Dale has a beautiful garden this year, and up until a young deer looked it over, it was without a fence. Our neighbor scared the doe off when he opened his window as he saw her heading for the garden. I really did not know how we were going to put up that fence of steel posts and plastic fencing material, but Dale and I are a good team. One by one, `I drove the posts in with a small sledgehammer, and then Dale could reach through the plastic fencing to tie it to the steel post with her small hands. It took us a little over three hours to complete that task not counting my sitting for my four minutes and three seconds several times. Now I do not need to worry about Dale being upset that something has eaten from her garden. At least, I hope that is true.
I know it is Father’s Day, but I want to talk about my marriage, my wife, rather than about me. A week or so ago, I learned a theological answer to a question about Jesus’ crucifixion and our being saved by his death. My mind has always wrestled with that concept of my sin being taken upon by our Lord. How could that be and why would He endure that pain for me? Dale gave me that answer.
It should come as no surprise that I am an imperfect human being. I am not the ideal husband. Sometimes I am cranky and stubborn and disagreeable. If you know me, you know that I am far from perfect and that I could improve my ways even at this late age. This is told to you first because then I can state that Dale is not perfect either. She says things at times that do not make me happy. If I am complaining about something and she replies by saying, “Poor baby!” I try to leave the room before I say a lot of uncomplimentary things. So, my wonderful wife, she is not perfect – but I love her. She is kind and giving and thoughtful of me. I know she loves me and that we are a good team and love each other with a love that is just wonderful – but human too. So, when Dale had to have some oral surgery done,she was concerned and worried. She did not talk about the date and just faced each day as the day of the surgery neared.
Dale has been with me during my surgeries over and over again. This was really the first time she had faced such a difficult health situation since our marriage thirty-three years ago. The surgery was complicated because the original dentist she had consulted with had told her it was going to be a very painful surgery, and she might even have to return the same day for hemorrhaging issues and might need to be reinjected with Novocain to ease her pain. Even being the son of a dentist, I could not take that fear away. I did not wish to make light of it or to make her feel the worst of it – so inside I had a wish that could not be met. When I saw her worry, I wished with all my heart that I could have undergone that surgery for her. In one moment, I would have been glad to endure what she was going to have to endure herself. With all my heart, I wished it could be me to take her pain away from her.
When you really love someone even though they might not be a saint (I am quick to admit I am not a saint either), you truly wish to endure the pain they might have to suffer. This is where my theological revelation entered. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN THE WAY JESUS FELT WHEN HE TOOK THE CROSS UPON HIMSELF. He wanted to bear the penalty of my sins for He loves me with an everlasting love. Jesus knew we humans were imperfect, he knew that we were not living by His Father’s will, and He decided to take the penalties and suffering that we might face away from us.
OF course, I went with Dale to the new wonderful, kind dentist who was to do the surgery – she certainly did not go to the unfeeling one. We waited together, and how I wished for her to have an unpainful experience. When they called her name, I sat there and asked our Savior to please be with her. An hour passed and then my Dale returned to me with a smile, perhaps a crooked one from the anesthesia, but how much that smile meant to me.
Her face was not bruised, her pain was not too difficult to bear, and, in a few days, all the hurt and soreness went away. What did not go away from me was the knowledge of how much I love my wife and how much Jesus loved us both. He died upon that cruel cross because he loved you and me with all our human imperfections. Ah, we Christians shall ever Honor and Adore Him who loved us so much.
On this Father’s Day, we give thanks to our heavenly Father who gave us His only begotten Son. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”
I will try to walk with you more often – but right now I have to sit for four minutes and three seconds.