Monday, August 11, 2008

What was dad thinking?

When I was a child of 4 my father loved to take the family to Huntington Beach in California as often as possible. My dad, a former water polo player and great swimmer, used to take me on the old fashioned canvas covered surf riders. (at the time they were not old fashioned) He would don his swim fins and tow me out to the really big outside breakers where the surfers were. It was out beyond the pier mounted life guard tower and probably a couple hundred yards off shore. This is the same place the surfing championships are held because of the predictably larger waves. When a wave of suitable size approached, (IE the biggest one he could find) he would push me over the top of the wave where I would free fall from the crest to the bottom of the wave on my canvas magic carpet. Like a Cape Kennedy rocket I would launch out of the foam and ride the wave to the beach. I was never scarred, I loved it. Dad would body surf the next wave in and off we would go for another round. Twenty-five years later I took my oldest son, who was around 4 at the time, to Huntington Beach to experience the same joys I had with my father. I was an accomplished swimmer too and had no problems towing most precious cargo out to the same spot my father took me. As I was setting Daniel up for the ride of his life it struck me. "what if he falls off?" I would never find him. Nearly paralyzed with fear, I pinned him to the Surf Mat and got him safely to shore, heart racing and a more than a little eager to speak with my Dad. I found him a short time later and all I could think of to say was, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? His only defense was, You never fell off did you? No, but for the grace of God. I trusted my dad totally and completely as a child and in retrospect I have to say with all clearness of thought and another 30 years of experience "what was he thinking!!!! Dad's confidence in his ability to care for me far exceeded my confidence to take care of Daniel. If I told you the other wonderful things we did together you would really wonder about both of our sanity, and no I don't think mom ever knew. He died a few years back but never once did I doubt his Love for me or have any reason to not trust him. What a wonderful heritage. At the time of his death we were more like best friends. I do miss him a great deal, but I do have wonderful sons to fill the gap...and they are sworn to secrecy. My point in all this is simple. Oswald Chambers, one of my heroes of the faith, wrote of the necessity of our coming to God in prayer with that same childlike faith and trust. I am growing in my understanding of his thinking, which usually is far deeper than mine. I do want to live life in relationship with my heavenly Father with the same faith I had in my earthly father. Chambers then adds that we are to "fill up in our flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ" Col 1:24. What on earth is that? Reading a post Victorian era writer in a post christian America clouds the simplicity of what he is saying. All he really is saying is to PRAY for those with needs around you. Jesus would have and indeed is right now. Let another persons need move you to talk to the father about their need. My father and I spent several years in ministry together and frequently had those conversations. Sometimes he took care of the problem, some times I did and always we enjoyed the fellowship of working together in some heartbreaking situations. What Chambers is saying is: Care enough about others to carry them to the father. I'll bet you already do that all the time. Take deep satisfaction in the knowledge that you are truly doing what Jesus is doing.


Doni Brinkman said...

I have my own set of "what was dad thinking" you know LOL! :) Like 4 wheeling in a station wagon with 5 kids for example! Hee hee! I love when you write "our stories" - I am keeping them you know. Praying for a more childlike faith. By the way, I never would have gotten your explantation out of what Chambers said and I read that part over and over.

heidi jo said...

I wrote my childlike comment on your more recent post before going back to start reading all the posts I missed while offline. Fun to see that I was on the right track with your 'childlikeness' thinking. :)

GLAD TO ALSO KNOW I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WONDERED WHAT IN THE WORLD OSWALD MET BY THAT LINE! I too read it over and over in the context PapaZ has written about it here... but still my brain hurts. :) ha! I understand filling up with the flesh (being the hands and feet for the needs) but what is the definition, in this context, of the afflictions of Christ? Is that the needs of others? I don't get the description in this setting.