On the morning of January 29, 2019, God blessed me as never before. My dad walked by as I was lamenting my sciatica while preparing to go feed the livestock. I commented how God was showing me what it was like to be his age. I had to sit to pull my trousers on and everything seemed to ache on this cold morning. He smiled and said “Yep, you’re the mirror image of me.” We both laughed as he adopted me into his family when I was fourteen years old.
I stated, “Dad, if I become even half the man you are, I’ll be grateful. If God sees fit for me to reach your age and I accomplish even half of what you have, I’ll be blessed.” It amazes me how similar my adopted dad and I are to one another. We’re both gearheads. We both think we have to solve everyone else’s problems. Both of us are tenacious (although I‘m certain he’s stubborn); and we are both always right. In fact, we’re so much alike we are both diabetic and share a history of heart and other health problems.
As you might surmise, from our being so alike, my dad and I have had a few heated discussions through the years. Whatever occurs between us, at the end of every exchange, we tell each other we love them. Mom always saw that her boys made up before bedtime. This particular morning was a good time for us to sit and reminisce about our lives together.
As we chatted, my dad said “We never realize the impact our words and actions have on others.” He thanked me for showing him how much impact he’d had on my life. “You always remind me of things I’ve said or done, and I never even thought anyone would care, much less remember”, he said. I stood in silence, thanking God for this conversation with “Pop.” I wondered to myself how, in just a few years of living and working together, my dad had so imprinted his character onto me.
When he shared his Wal-Mart™ checkout story of a few years ago, I couldn’t say a word. Don’t we all have one of those stories where we’ve paid for someone’s purchase to pass on the blessings we receive? That moment was God’s answer to a question I’d asked Him three years ago, when I had done the same thing. I realized on this morning; I did it because that’s what my family does. That’s what I saw my adopted parents do. I followed their example of giving and helping others.
I like to think this same imprinting of character traits is one purpose of the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives? Part of His plan of sanctification is to imprint Christ’s character onto us. To make us more like Jesus was in this world, so we might better reflect God’s light in this darkened world. I wish sometimes I wouldn’t make it so challenging for Him to perform His transformational work in my life.
The photo above of my dad and me, reminds me of one of the greatest moments in my life. I stood there in a suit borrowed from my dad, thinking how surreal it was for a kid from the streets to be standing among all those successful business people. I was sixteen years old when that photo was taken. It was at the Bartow Chamber of Commerce Orange Juice breakfast my family sponsored that month. After the chamber’s President introduced Dad, he stood and moved to the podium to address the crowded room.
Dad paused, looked at me, and said, “I want to introduce my son Jim…” His son! For the first time in my life, Dad told the world I was his son! I looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back, winked, and gave me a nod of approval. I closed my eyes and folded my hands beneath the table, thanking God for His faithfulness. I thanked Him for helping a wayward young man find his place in the world. The words of Matthew 21:22 (NKJV) “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” echoed in my heart.
I look forward to the day my dad and I stand together again, in God’s presence, and we hear Him say “Well done my good and faithful sons.”I’m so glad my dad and I are Our Father’s sons. Click To Tweet