Following on the heels of “15 Things I Learned From My Mom,” I thought it was only fitting to devote a post to my father. This month not only marks Father’s Day, but my dad’s 93rd birthday. Here are just a few of the countless things he’s taught me:
1. Commit your heart to Jesus. My dad’s faith began forming when he was a young farm boy searching for a lost cow. As he went from field to field looking for the wayward beast, he eventually became disoriented and panicked. In that moment, dad asked God to help him, and instantaneously remembered that he could tell the direction home by looking at the sun. The seeds of faith sown that day on the prairie came to fruition at age 15 when a traveling evangelist came to town. When the altar call came, dad felt a burning in his heart to respond. “I practically ran to the front,” dad recalls. He says he knew that it was time to “get off the fence” and make a commitment to Christ. My father calls it the most important decision he’s ever made—and one he’s never regretted.
Baby-faced dad in WWII
2. Worrying is worthless. One of the hallmarks of my dad’s faith is how it dissolves fear. As a soldier in WWII, his fellow Army buddies asked him why he didn’t share their fear of dying on the battlefield. He responded, “My life is in God’s hands, and I know that if I die, I will go to heaven.” My dad has consistently turned to prayer during trying times, leaving the matters in God’s hands. He is famous for saying “we’ll take it one day at a time,” a philosophy that focuses on the present rather than fearing the future. Even now, when the frailties of old age could easily produce anxiety, dad often says, “I’ll sleep well tonight; I don’t have anything to worry about. What good would it do, anyway?”