Tomorrow marks the 7th anniversary of the day my dad received the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). He died on June 27, 2013 after a protracted battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Although the final leg of his earthly journey was incredibly difficult, God’s grace sustained him, my mom and the rest of our family.
This past Father’s Day, I commented to Linda that I was missing my dad. Missing the ability to pick up the phone and hear his cheerful voice. Missing the chance to ask for his wise counsel. Missing his faithful prayers for our family. Missing his words of blessing and encouragement.
Back in 1982, when I was in seminary, I spent a summer serving on the ministry staff at Forest Home Christian Conference Center in Southern California. One Sunday dad and mom dropped by the camp to see me. On that particular Sunday, I had been asked to preach at the Staff Worship Service. I don’t remember what I spoke about; I do recall what dad said to me afterwards. In a quiet moment after the morning service, he said, “Rick, God is going to use your life to speak His Word.”
Those words of blessing have stayed with me over the decades. A father’s blessing is a powerful thing.
Now I have the opportunity to speak words of blessing and encouragement. To my own children. To the young preachers I train at Heritage College and Seminary.
I was blessed to have a father who spoke words of blessing into my life. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to follow his example. Even so, I still miss him.
On Father’s Day weekend, singer/songwriter Steve Bell sang a song written after the death of his dad. It’s a moving tribute to a father’s love and legacy.