by Doug Phillips
President, Vision Forum Ministries
This message is dedicated to all those hard-working, diaper-changing, dishes-washing, kid’s-face-cleaning-off, occasional-meal-cooking, socks-picking-up, scripture-studying, boo-boo kissing, quiet-ear-listening, and all-around-helping FATHERS without-whom-we-would-not-be-Mothers, to whom we owe so much.
Happy Father’s Day!
I have a little boy who waits for his daddy at the end of the street.
For several years, we lived at the end of a long Texas country road. Every evening when I was away from home on business, my little boy would ask permission of his mother to take his black lab and his daddy’s blackthorn walking stick, to make the half-mile journey from the house to the picket fence which marked the beginning of the dirt driveway.
One day, I was delayed in my business. Some seemingly all-important grown-up concern distracted me. I forgot about the faithful little boy down the road who might be waiting for his daddy.
On my way home, the floodgates of heaven opened. For several minutes, the rain was so thick I could not see ten feet in front of me. All I could think of was finishing my journey and getting out of the rain. Finally, the downpour began to abate. It was only a drizzle by the time my car turned the last corner and approached the final street between me and a warm home and nice meal.
But in less than a fraction of a second, my business priorities, my concerns, and my grown-up thoughts would fade and vanish.
There was my little boy. He was holding a rickety umbrella in one hand, a walking stick in the other, and was wearing the biggest and most beautiful smile ever to grace the face of a little boy.
As I stopped the car and opened the door, he ran into my arms and held me long and hard. He was wet and shivering, but he never mentioned the rain, nor the hour-long wait, that I later discovered he had endured just to greet his father. He simply said: “Daddy, I missed you, I am so glad you are home.”
All afternoon he had been thinking of one thing: his daddy. He had lived for the time he could make the journey to the end of the road and for that one moment when he would run into my arms and tell me he loves me. Like the dog beside him, his devotion and faithfulness would not even be broken by a tardy father and a rainy day. His day and his world revolved around that one moment when he could say to himself: “I am with my Daddy again.”
One day we moved to a wonderful new home provided by the Lord for a special season in our lives. The little boy down the road is a little bit less little. We no longer have a long country road. Now we have a giant tree. It is often beside that tree that my little boy waits for me now, sometimes with his regiment of brothers and sisters, now old enough to venture beyond the castle walls of our home.
The tree is adorned with climbing ropes, with occasional buckets hanging off the limbs, and with the many markings of boys who thrill and delight to climb and conquer the kingdoms of trees. In the evening time, we sometimes have what we call “tree time.” This is a special thirty minutes when Daddy and sons climb into the tree and just talk. It’s a time for stories, for imagination, and for just being boys in trees.
But I have never forgotten the rainy day and the little boy and his dog. Often, perhaps a thousand times, my mind has wandered back to that scene. Like all events in our lives, it happens once, and must be savored and treasured.
I think it was this day that I grew to understand what it meant when Jesus said that true Christianity is having the faith of a child. The evidences of this faith are simple love, unfeigned loyalty, and the passion — the all-consuming passion — to be with the Father.
How thankful I am that our Heavenly Father will never be distracted, lose perspective, or switch priorities away from His beloved sons. He will not leave us waiting, nor will He need rain and storms to refocus His attention on us.
Oh God, help us to be more like You, to have the simple faith of our children, and to understand that more than anything else, our children crave a relationship with us, even as You crave one with each of Your children.
Someday my little boy won’t be waiting at the end of the road. Someday he won’t ask me to climb “our” tree to hear Daddy stories. Someday the wonders of bugs and butterflies will be exchanged for the dreams of noble manhood. Someday we will discuss what it means to love a woman. On yet another more distant day, we will look at new life and discuss, not only as father and son, but as friends, the joys of raising children for the glory of God. Perhaps even someday, we will live to see our children’s children walk in the grace of the light of God.
All of this by God’s grace and mercy. But for now, my little boy still likes to climb trees, to snuggle in bed, to hug and kiss, and to wrestle on the ground with his five-foot-eight father, who, for just a few more years, appears to be an insurmountable giant. What a gift! What a gift!
You may not have a little boy down the street, but perhaps you have a little girl looking out the window, or a baby in the crib, or a young man on the phone. Whatever gifts of life God has given you, and in whatever stages of their lives you find them now, remember that this season is a gift from God which lasts for but a moment, and will then be gone forever. Have the faith of a child. The message of life is relationships. Don’t leave the little boy down the road waiting for long.
Copyright 2005, Vision Forum Ministries. Reprinted with permission.