Happy Birthday to my dad – a strong warrior in spiritual things, a courageous man, resolved to overthrow the enemy’s strongholds. His love is deep and active, growing and cascading over crevices and stony barriers meant to keep it bound, ah, but they are no match. I love him more as time goes by, and my gratefulness for who he is increases with the years.
I love that at 74, he still grasps for understanding and wisdom, he continues to reach out to the God who saved him, to the God he is only even now learning to embrace as the Father, his Father. And that everything he discovers is a new gift for me. And will be for my children and theirs.
My dad is not content to look back over the successes of his life (he has without doubt gone from glory to glory) and rehearse them as echoes of what once was. He, this very day, is seeking to do the will of God, is actively living for Jesus. In this way, I come from such rich, rich heritage.
I learn from him. I learn from him. His example to stand upright no matter what battle rages, for the right, is ever and always going to be my paradigm for life. Because whatever you must venture into, with unceasing tenacity, you must endure and remain standing with a steadfast heart. Wholeheartedness is the measure.
I love you, Papasan. I bless your birth and all the days you have lived. I bless the God of the universe finding you on a Missouri farm and capturing your heart. I bless the mistakes you made and the pain you hid and the amazing things you accomplished in work and life and ministry against all odds for a boy whose father was killed before he was even born. I bless you for choosing the right woman with which to make a life and for continuing to do and be all God has called you to do and to be.
I was moved this morning to pray for you with this scripture passage, Psalm 92.10-15 because it has your name all over it – a righteous man with a wild-ox anointing. The years cannot harness a person under the flow of the fresh oil. He’ll be like a young, strong ox that has never been yoked or broken or told he can’t. That is my daddy – strong as the day is long, anointed with fresh oil – verdant and green, a living memorial to the faithfulness of God. It’s true, dad!
But my horn (emblem of excessive strength and stately grace) You have exalted like that of a wild ox; I am anointed with fresh oil. My eye looks upon those who lie in wait for me; my ears hear the evildoers that rise up against me. The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
I love you dad, and guess what? Almost everyday since you told me to in October, I have remembered to say:
I receive my father’s blessing on me today.
And I am cognizant of the powerful, rich and freely flowing blessing you are pouring out to heaven for each of us kids daily and I receive it, dad with gratefulness and so much love. And dad? I bless you back. Happy Birthday to my hero.