A Father’s Day Tribute and Challenge

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Crying Out to the Most High

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“If you put some money in the kettle, we’ll stop singing!” my larger than life father shouted as we manned a Salvation Army stand on Christmas Eve. He would throw his head back, laugh and then remind those around him how funny he was.

Since my parents were Salvation Army officers, and my sisters had their own families, it was usually the three of us plowing through that busy season. Last-minute-Christmas shoppingand singing questionable three-part-harmony on the kettles became our tradition.

As a teenager, I’d roll my eyes when my father did something embarrassing. I wouldn’t now.

Dad entered heaven ten years ago, and I still miss him. Especially on Father’s Day. I have possession of his Salvation Army Songbook and New Testament. His left-handed all caps print is noticeable in many of the margins. In this book are personal notes about the songs and humble prayers of a man who failed much—and knew it. Often his prayer centered on forgiveness, but many times he cried out for a deeper relationship with the Lord.

His passion and prayers still speak to me.

Reading through the first few chapters of Nehemiah, I also feel the depth of his passion and his prayers. Heartbroken because Jerusalem lies desolate with no walls, he fasts and prays—crying out to the Most High, confessing his sin, and the sin of his people while lifting up the name of Jehovah. Listen to this:

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.”Nehemiah 1:5-7 (NLT)

With Mother’s Day behind us, and Father’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been wondering how I will be remembered. Will it be for complaining or discontentment? Will my children think of the times I yelled or functioned at just a notch above crazy?

I hope not. My desire is for them to remember me in the same way Paul remembered Timothy’s mother and grandmother in 2 Timothy 1:5,

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”

Genuine faith—not perfect—a woman of passionate prayer and humble repentance.

Just like my father. Just like Nehemiah. Just like a myriad of others who pressed on in this fallen world, looking for a better place.

What about you? How will you be remembered?

Let’s passionately pray about it together.

Copyright © 2018 Pauline Hylton, used with permission.

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