This is dedicated to all the men who have weathered the storms of being a dad.
All of us have struggled with difficult situations. Times when what we have planned does not turn out the way we would choose.
And even though the course of events are not what we would choose, in time we see it become what it was meant to be from the beginning. Sometimes through our difficulty we become part of something much bigger than we could ever imagine.
Joseph was the first person to struggle with the news of Mary’s pregnancy.
Mary’s momentary “How will this be?” (see Luke 1:34) seemed to come and go, like a cool breeze.
But Joseph saw no angels. He only dreamed dreams. He had no quickening in his belly to tell him that life, a baby, had indeed been conceived without his participation.
We know almost nothing about Joseph, apart from his willingness to say “No” to himself for Mary’s sake and for God’s.
Imagine the dilemma of that simple man, finding himself cast in the role of father to the Son of God.
Though that beautiful infant was not part of his body, the baby must have quickly taken over Josephs heart, as most adopted children have a way of doing.
As he held that precious bundle in his arms, Joseph must have asked
“How could it be?”….
It is an impossible task, being a parent.
Not just difficult….impossible.
To take on life from its first breath on through to maturity-to feed, and clothe, educate and all the rest.
How could it be…..
How did Joseph do?
We regretfully have no scenes of him with Jesus in the carpenter shop.
But since Jesus was also known as a carpenter, he must have learned his trade from somewhere.
We know for certain that Jesus made it to manhood with a wonderfully strong and simple version of what father meant.
He must have learned it at least in part from Joseph.
Before he cried “Abba!” with a man’s tormented voice in the garden of Gethsemane, he must have tenderly called out that same name in an innocent child’s voice to that man in the shadows,
Just a man who held fast in hope, in difficult times, and became part of the greatest story ever told.
“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”.
I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.
Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full.
“ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”.
( 1 Corinthians 13:12).
My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been.
I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten.
I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis.
I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change.
I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life.
If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad.
One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather.
One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness.
All part of a story that has had many twists and turns.
I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs
"As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles"
And so it is true for me.
But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed.
The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins!
"" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns".
My hope is that as we all run
our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written.
And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you.
Further up and further in!
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