Jen’s Gem: God will go to bat for you.
On a good hair day, my Dad was probably about 5 foot five inches tall. What he lacked in height, he abounded in personality. He had a presence when he walked into the room. When he spoke, people listened. When he played his bass, people listened even more. And when his junior high and high school jazz bands played, people couldn’t stop talking.
I was never one of those kids who would proclaim “My Dad can beat up your dad,” when faced with adversity. Though I know he would’ve gone to bat for me, he likely would’ve lost to a taller, stronger opponent.
I recall a time in eighth grade when I and my friends were being unjustly treated by the teacher. Both of my parents went to the school to speak with her, a nun. My father didn’t threaten her or try to pick a fight. He used his words. My father’s words had power because the very next day, my friends and I were back in the teacher’s good graces. It was as if nothing had ever happened.
While I can’t honestly admit that my friends and I were completely right in our actions that caused the rift between us and the teacher, it didn’t matter. My Dad stood up for me. I’m sure he likely promised the teacher that I’d right any wrong, however, he never said anything to me. It didn’t matter what I did. Someone was mistreating his child and he wasn’t going to stand for it.
I recall another time when I accidentally ran a stop sign and totaled my brand new car that I received as a gift for my college graduation. I should’ve gotten a ticket. I should’ve had to pay damages to the town. Instead, I paid nothing. As I laid in the hospital bed being treated for a concussion, my father took care of everything. He even got the town to put up a larger sign, so that people could see it better. It’s still there.
This is what a good father does for his children. He defends them. He protects them. He takes the hit for them. My father might not have been able to win a street fight, but he stood up for me and protected me in his own way.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
Many years ago, when my Dad began to slip away due to the effects of Alzheimer’s, it felt like I was losing my protector, my cheerleader, and my confidante. There was no one to look to for that security, support, and unconditional love. No one who would “go to the mattresses” for me. I believe 100% in my heart that this is when God began His work in me.
God knew my father would pass away. He knew that I’d need someone to protect me. He knew I’d need someone to talk to when I was having a tough time or when I or my kids had a big win. He knew I’d need advice. He knew I’d need a cheerleader because there was going to be some really tough, life-changing times ahead.
God placed a hunger in me to know Him and His Son, Jesus, better. He gave me such a passion to learn as much as I could about Him that to this day, if I’m not working, I’m in some type of Bible study, at church, or spending time with others who will sharpen my knowledge.
I’m never bored. I’m never saying “ok – I’ve had enough.” Every class, every service, every conversation, I learn something new. I’m beyond grateful. This is why I wake at the crack of dawn each Sunday to write these blog posts. I want other people to experience this same joy, peace, security, and love, especially if they did not have a father, or if theirs did not fulfill their obligations, or worse abused them.
While I paint a rosy picture of my Dad, he was not perfect. There were many things he did wrong. He was human and like any human parent, he made mistakes. It doesn’t matter to me. He loved me. No other man on this planet loved me like that. However, there was a man who walked this earth about two thousand years ago who did love me. He loved me enough to die for me.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
This week I’d like to encourage you to do two things. If you didn’t have the best of fathers, first and foremost, forgive them. Secondly, spend some time learning about your heavenly Father. He never makes mistakes. He’ll always defend you.
And? He’s the one you want to bring to your street fights. There’s no one taller, stronger, or smarter. No one.