Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Life & Character of a Father

A friend of mine, Mathias John (M.J.) Seiwert III, who is the Middle School Director at Christ Church in Lake Forest, IL recently experienced the passing of his father from this life to the next.  MJ loved and admired his Dad.  

As a Dad, I found the relationship that MJ had with his father not only to be heart warming and encouraging, but challenging and inspiring.  I so want the character of my life to be completely shaped by my Creator so that those around me (my wife and children) and the people I cross paths with everyday will be profoundly impacted by how God and His Grace has crafted me as a man, husband and father.  I hope MJ's reflections of his father will encourage, challenge and inspire you to grow a deeper relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Reflections On My Dearly Departed Dad...
by Mathias John Seiwert on Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you." ~ Isaiah 46:4 NIV

1. God Sustained And Carried My Dad Through 95.5 Years of Life On Earth
A. Through two world wars
B. Through the Great Depression
C. Through the death of both parents, all eight siblings, his first wife & most of his childhood pals
D. Through the ups and downs of working at and leading a trucking company for seventy years
E. Through smoking cigarettes for sixty-five years
F. Through running after a newborn son starting at the age of sixty-two
G. Through being a Cubs fan for nearly a century
H. Through the often inexplicable decisions of seventeen U.S. Presidents
I. Through app. four BILLION heartbeats, 35,000 days of life on earth & driving over one million miles
J. Through being confined to a wheelchair for the last twelve months
God truly sustained and carried my Dad through all that and more. What an amazing God!

2. God Made My Dad Marvelously By Hand

It seems that nearly everyone who ever met my Dad, from family members to business associates to workers in the grocery store deli department, was impacted by his
A. Honest character
B. Genuine disposition
C. Generous spirit
D. Affable personality
E. Kind manner
F. Unconditional love
G. "Kid at heart"
H. Enthusiasm for life
I. Loyal faithfulness
J. Sincere/devout faith in God
Such a masterpiece as my Dad was not cranked out in any heavenly assembly line factory. No, such a man as my Dad was made as we all are: by the very Hand of the Father, the Ancient of Days, with the closest attention to detail and the creative flourishes of spiritual gifts also shared by God Himself.

3. God Rescued My Dad From Hell

Because my Dad "confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in his heart that God raised Him from the dead, he is saved" (Romans 10:9 NIV). Furthermore, my Dad didn't just have an intellectual faith but also a practical one that lived out what he believed: he was constantly putting into practice the golden rule, striving to follow the Ten Commandments, and interacting with the LORD as if God is a person (which He IS! :) by talking with Him and seeking His guidance daily. What a blessed privilege that because of Jesus my Dad's sins are forgiven, paid for, and wiped clean.

4. God Wants To Do The Same For All Of Us...

Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sustained and carried my Dad, the Trinity wants to carry us through the trials that we face every day...if we will let Him.

Just as God made my Dad by hand with special gifts through which to display the splendor of God, He made us by hand and is waiting to unlock those gifts in us...if we will let Him.

And just as the LORD Almighty rescued my Dad from hell through Jesus' death on the cross and return to life three days later, the Trinity wants to do all that for each of us...if only we will let Him, if only we will say "yes!" to Jesus, if only we will answer the door of our hearts where Jesus knocks and invite Him in, handing Him the deed to our lives and allowing Him to be in control.

Because my Dad did this, his death, while bitter, has a sweetness mixed deep into the recipe: the expiration of his earthly body was not the end of my Dad--rather it was his graduation day to an eternal life in the direct/pure presence of God! What could be better!?

May the end of our earthly lives also be our graduation day--we cannot earn the degree, but Jesus passed all the exams for us and wants to bestow upon us PhD's in righteousness that last forever and ever...if we will accept His application to be LORD and Savior of our lives!

I miss my Dad dearly, but I WILL see him again.

I miss him so much, but we WILL have a catch again someday and I WILL hear the pop of the ball in the mitt as he gives me a left-handed heater that wowed Cubs scouts back in 1935.

I feel emptiness without him, but I WILL fill him in on the rest of my earthly life someday and experience again his rich pride in me and unconditional love for me.

I miss Him, but this is NOT the end...

May the above be true for all of us.

Cubs Game With M.J. And His Dad
MJ with his Dad, Mat, at Wrigley Field.

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