Last week I went to a funeral. Now mind you, I’ve been to quite a few funerals in the past 15ish years, but this one was different. This was the funeral of the patriarch of a large family, many of them family friends since my youth.
I believe this was the most emotionally painful funeral I’ve ever attended. That’s not because I was extremely close to him personally, though I have good memories of him, but rather because of what his family members, my childhood friends shared, talk of what a wonderful father and grandfather he was.
His second son, who is an amazing speaker, had us laughing and crying. But somewhere in the middle of his talk an awful pain began to stab me deep in the heart, realizing all the wonderful things I missed because my father was not like that.
I can honestly say that I’m not jealous of our friends for the relationship they had with their father. I am very happy for them all. It just pains me greatly that my father chose the road of the “flesh”, as Scripture calls it. In other words, instead of relying on God and building a spiritual family like our friend did, my father relied on himself, on his own limited strength and understanding. His lack of seeking God caused numerous problems. He built things and was proud of his work, but he didn’t seek to learn how to build his family up. He had his good points, but we will never be able to have a funeral for him like our friends did for their father. For our mother, yes. She is a saint. But not for my father.
Driving back from the cemetery, I got behind a Chevy and noticed that part of it’s emblem, a cross of sorts, was tarnished. The part that was still a shiny gold color reminded me of the profile of a horse. This may seem a little random, but it got me thinking that
God is able to bring something beautiful out of the deep, dark, painful places of our lives.
He is able to bring life from the painful deaths of our dreams.
He is able to bring hope beyond the hopelessness.
The fact that my dad did not walk in God’s perfect plan for him made it difficult for me to recognize God as my Father, because I didn’t have the experience of a godly father.
But over time, I found in God all the good things that had been lacking in my life.
I found in God the PERFECT Father!
God is for me everything I need Him to be and more!
And He wants to be that for any of you reading this who maybe had a less-than stellar father or a father who was absent for whatever reason.
As the day of the funeral drew to a close, I felt like I had been through quite a storm. My heart was still in pain,
but I knew then, and I know now, that I have the Heavenly Father with me at every moment, He Who gives me rest through the night and bright hope for tomorrow!
What do you think?
Can any of you relate to any of this? Please let me know in the comments.
How can we learn from this to be a parent that pleases God?
How can we learn from the mistakes of others?
Is it a good idea to just wing it as a parent when we had less-than-stellar role models?
What things can we do to learn to be good role models for our children and grandchildren?