Our lives will speak as a unique example of faith… what will we refuse to place ahead of it?
April 16, 2012… It was an absolutely beautiful day… sunny… unseasonably warm for April… I remember a gentle breeze passing through the house as we opened the windows… just the kind of day my father would have enjoyed fishing in. Then… at 1:46pm, my father passed quietly. I remember sending a message out stating… “today, I’ve lost my hero…”
Since that day, I’ve had a chance to reflect back on a multitude of things… including my choice of words describing what I felt when my father finally passed. What made him a hero to me? I remember thinking of all the qualities we typically assign hero’s… courage, honor, strength, tenacity, goodness, selflessness. My father had all these qualities, but what about faith? My father made sure we attended church as a family each Sunday as we grew up, but there was something missing. After all… the great hero’s of the Bible showed faith in God despite incredible odds. What an amazing legacy they’ve left us who desire to follow in their faith-based footsteps!
After reading Hebrews 11, it’s hard not to hear a heavenly applause building to a crescendo as verse after verse cheers on the faith of Abel and Enoch; Noah, Abraham, and Sarah; Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David, Samuel, and the many prophets. They all made tough decisions to trust and follow God, to keep trusting while life got difficult, and to hang on to Him even stronger when it seemed that life went from bad to worse!
A heroic faith makes sacrifices and keeps going. Anyone can claim faith in God, but the heroic type of faith is proven during the storms that challenge it. Just as we don’t know what true hope or true peace look like until they are tested, true faith shows its heroism only in circumstances that require a hero.
Heroes are willing to give up what is of lesser value, even if it is still of value, for what is greater. Our devotion to God will always fit the ‘greater’ category.
Each of our stories of faith are ours alone… it hasn’t been done before, and each of us are the ones who receive the gift of living it. Undoubtedly, each of us will have opportunities to prove the depth of our faith… the question is, will we rely on God for strength and encourage those who come after us to emulate that trust we showed in God no matter what?
Our first and last acts of heroic faith are the same… refusing to put anything ahead of our Lord in our life. Someone coming after us will learn about faith through ours! Will each of our faith-walks inspire a hero-to-be?
At 82, my father climbed into a pool at my sister’s church, and was baptized, declaring his need for his Lord and Savior in his life! From that moment on, my father was a changed man! It was my father’s leap of faith to be baptized that inspired me to grow deeper in my own walk of faith… to commit even stronger to becoming the man that Jesus calls men to be. I owe my father a debt of gratitude for modeling one of the greatest attributes a father could model for his son… weakness! Yes… on April 16, 2012, I lost my hero, in the true sense of the word, for in his weakness, he was made strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10) Thank you Dad… I miss you and I will see you soon!
Heavenly Father… thank you for being faithful to all who demonstrate heroic faith in You… Please help me to have the courage to be counted among that group. Amen!