Had a call this morning from a brother in the church whose father had died very early this morning at 3:06 AM, in the middle of the night, but in fact, the darkest hour of the day. Today has been a day of busyness getting ready to make a two-hour trip to the wake tonight. The wake tonight and funeral tomorrow will be Buddhist, but there will be several of us who will go to standby our brother and pay our “respects” to the deceased. As I was in this barrage of busyness, some profound thoughts filled my mind and I knew I had to sit and write them down to you.
The persimmons hang full on this tree in the countryside near our city. Its leaves have all fallen to the ground, but fruit remains.
My friend’s father died this morning. Like a leaf, he has fallen and will be buried sometime tomorrow, but his fruit remains. He has a son, grandchildren and great grandchildren who remain to follow in his footsteps. They will keep on traveling down the road called LIFE with all its curves, potholes and ruts.
Jesus said, “ . . . except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains alone, but if it dies (if it is buried), it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.” John 12:24 KJV and The Message
My friend has had a very rough road to travel in life. His father verbally and physically abused him, so much that his son said, “I’ll never forgive him.” His own father’s father did the same to him when he was a boy. Yes, life is full of curves, potholes and ruts, isn’t it?
My friend became a neighborhood bully and beat up many boys. He even was physically abusive toward his own son. He did a good job of protecting himself from ever being abused again by becoming abusive. People stayed away from him, they kept their distance.
My friend came to a personal knowledge of Jesus, but the abusive past was so deep that for many, many years (even after his conversion) it remained buried deep within his heart. As the time of his father’s passing neared, the Holy Spirit began speaking to his heart. He told me he heard a voice, “Forgive, forgive.” This could not have been himself because the thoughts he had were “I will never forgive him.”
The Word says, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
You might say, “Why honor an abusive father? Look what he did to me! No, never, ever will I forgive him!” Our fathers gave us LIFE! Yes, they may have abused us, done some terrible, indescribable things to us, but nevertheless, God says, “Honor him!” In return, our life will be lengthened.
My friend was at his father’s bedside during the shadow of his death. He has forgiven his father. The father’s son is the remaining fruit after death has fallen. The beauty of the picture you see above is in the color of the fruit: it stands out, speaks and resounds the glory and beauty of its creator!
If there is still a streak of “unforgive” in your heart toward a “father,” why not this weekend get serious about chucking it in the garbage where it belongs? It may not be just your natural father, but it may be your “spiritual father.” There is always a spiritual counterpart to that which is natural.