How do you remember your Father?
~My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-21) ~
It was early Tuesday morning; my bags were packed and ready to be loaded in the car so I could head to Toronto directly after work. Although it was only a one night trip, I wanted to make sure that I saw my children before I left. So, I went upstairs to wake them and carry them down to the breakfast table. Sophie always clings to me like a baby bear hugging a tree while Simon slumps over my shoulder like a rag doll. As I was delivering Simon to the table he noticed my bags at the front door. “Where are you going?” he asked sleepily. I explained that I was going to Toronto for a meeting and I would return on Wednesday night. At first I didn’t notice the tears in his eyes as I puttered around the kitchen getting breakfast ready. Then out of nowhere I felt his arms clamp around my legs and I heard him plead, “How am I going to remember you?” That certainly caught me off guard. My initial reaction was to say it would only be for a day; it’s not a big deal. Yet his emotional state left me scrambling for an answer to comfort my son. I looked around the room for some ‘token’ for him to remember me by. As I searched I couldn’t help but think about the choice I was making. What if something happened to me and I never came back? Maybe this was a bit silly thought, but for me, this made the situation more urgent. I reached out for my wife’s Blackberry, gathered my children to me and snapped a photo. I wanted the picture to remind my children that their father loved them, cared for them and enjoyed spending time with them. I wanted the picture to represent all our early morning breakfasts together. But most of all, I wanted them to remember the important life lessons that I have taught them, the ones that will keep them on the right path and out of trouble.
As I drove to Toronto, I couldn’t help but reflect on the morning’s events. My thoughts then moved on to that of my own father and how I remember him. He died over 10 years ago but there are many things I have that I remember about him. I have some pictures, jewelry, but most of all, I have the life lessons that he taught me, many of which I am passing on to my own children. I then moved on to think about our heavenly Father and how we remember Him. We don’t have pictures, jewelry or other ‘tokens’ of remembrance. But one of the things we do have is the Bible. There are many pictures painted and stories told in the pages of the Bible that remind us about our adoptive Father. All we need to do is open the Bible to be reminded about the purpose that God has for our lives, instructions on how to live and how much He loves us, sending His only Son to paying for our sins so we can be in relationship with Him. Proverbs 4:20-21 calls on us to remember the lessons and instructions that God has revealed to us in His word. We need to keep His instructions close to our hearts, meaning that what we learn must become a part of who we are. Remembering God’s intentions for us will keep us off of pathways that are harmful and destructive. Where people deal with the issues of living carelessly, we can experience the peace that a relationship with God can provide. The challenge for us is in how we remember our heavenly Father. Are we spending quality time with Him, reflecting on His word? Do we recognize His hand in the events that occur in our lives? Do we remember when He was with us in those moments where the world was falling apart and He was there to help us through it? If we don’t read the Bible, if we don’t spend time in prayer, we will begin to forget the important life lesson He has provided for us, to keep us safe and to give us life. In every moment of our lives, in every snapshot of a memory we should remember that our Father in heaven is there.