Gregory Central Inspirational Pages
Dad of the Year
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AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS, THE CHURCH'S PASTOR SLOWLY
STOOD UP, WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND, BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE
EVENING, BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT
IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PASTOR TOLD THE CONGREGATION THAT THE GUEST
MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THAT HE WANTED HIM TO
HAVE A FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE
APPROPRIATE FOR THE SERVICE. WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE
>ULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.
"A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC
COAST," HE BEGAN, "WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO THE SHORE.. THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE SWEPT INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED."
THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT, MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN, LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.
THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY.
"GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE MOST EXCRUCIATING
DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE?
HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION. THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN, AND HE ALSO KNEW THAT HIS SON'S FRIEND WAS NOT. THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE TORRENT OF WAVES.
AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!' HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO
HIS SON'S FRIEND. BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT. HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED."
BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP STRAIGHT IN THE PEW,
ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER'S MOUTH.
"THE FATHER," HE CONTINUED, "KNEW HIS SON WOULD STEP INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT BEAR THE THOUGHT OF HIS SON'S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY WITHOUT JESUS...THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO SAVE THE SON'S FRIEND.
"HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE SAME FOR US! OUR
HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE."
WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.
THE PASTOR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON, WITH AN INVITATION AT THE END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL. WITHIN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE AT THE OLD MAN'S SIDE.
"THAT WAS A NICE STORY," POLITELY STATED ONE OF THEM, "BUT I DON'T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON'S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN."
"WELL, YOU'VE GOT A POINT THERE," THE OLD MAN REPLIED GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE BROADENED HIS NARROW FACE.
HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS AND SAID, "IT SURE ISN'T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT I'M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME...YOU SEE, I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PASTOR IS MY SON'S FRIEND."
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened.
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Green Beret standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Green Beret wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the elite fighter could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young warrior sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Green Beret move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night..
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The rugged paratrooper released the now lifeless
hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the uniformed warrior interrupted her.
"Who was that man?" he asked.
The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered.
"No, he wasn't," the Green Beret replied. "I never saw him before in my life."
"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"
"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me,...... I stayed."
The next time someone needs you ... just be there. Stay.
We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.
Walk in peace! Take Care and God Bless.