My friend, may I ask you a question? Is happiness something we deserve, or the product of having a purpose in life founded on what a man builds from his misfortunes as well as his successes?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
I know that Father’s Day is nearly a week gone, but today I was thinking of my Dad. Growing up there is no doubt that the one person who was larger than life to me was my Dad. The reason was simple. He towered over me and just had a way of peering down at me that could either rivet me to the spot in guilt or immediately cause me to reach out in search of his love. He had a smell about him that was uniquely him as well; that faint odor of Mennon aftershave no matter what the time of day. That, mixed with the ever present aroma of Chesterfields, was always a sure sign that he had passed this way. I knew that he was around and that my world was secure and safe.
Over the course of years I came to know the man in whose footsteps I would some day walk and in whose image I was endeavoring to understand and in many ways conform to. I wanted to be like him when I grew up. I wanted to smell like him and sing like him; he had a good voice and loved to sing. I wanted to drive a car like him, and go to work like him, coming home and being greeted by a wife and family; just like him. Watching my Dad gave me purpose as I transcended from boyhood into adolescence. As I made that journey I began to observe his life as well as his presence. I saw his times of joy as well as his times of pain. When he lost his job I was only a little boy but I remember his grief followed by a stern commitment to making everything better for all of us by grit and hard work no matter what the sacrifice. As life dealt him uneven blows I often saw him blend his tough side with a gentle spirit. He willed it thus so that we would not be afraid.
At 18, when I left home, I was confident that I was on the way to becoming my “own man.” I didn’t find out until later that I was simply flexing my wings in preparation for a flight that would take me to a place that bore a great similarity to the one my Dad had occupied when I was young, always soaring above me. Although he has been with the Lord for over 20 years, I continue to be able to look back and see the great lesson he taught me–that a man’s presence is a mixture of joy and pain. This’s what makes him a man. It gives him purpose and a sense of value. Happiness isn’t something we deserve, it’s the product of having a purpose in life that is founded on what a man builds from his misfortunes as well as his successes. The pain is as good as the joy in that regard. In fact, we can’t really know joy without the pain.
God has called each of us to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. Like our fathers, this is an image of joy mixed with pain. There is no escaping it as Christ himself lived it and demonstrated it. As my Dad demonstrated a purpose of benefiting his children and his wife despite any pain or misfortune, Christ’s purpose was to benefit us through a deep-seated love for the Father. Our purpose is no different. To be “counted worthy of that calling” let us walk in Christ’s footsteps and grow up to be just like the Ones who have soared above us, our Lord Jesus Christ as well as our dads.
We pray. Heavenly Father, how often we long for a life without pain or suffering. We never feel that we deserve it nor do we desire it. Lord, how can this be a blessing? Forgive us Father when we forget the lessons of those who walked before us demonstrating that pain and joy are just part of life, a blessing and not a curse. May we be examples as well to those who walk after us that sacrifice measures a man and without it we will never measure up to those who HAVE walked our path in patience and long suffering. In Jesus name, the perfect sacrifice, we pray. Amen
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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God bless you for Jesus sake.