Words are such a powerful thing. They have the power to hurt or the power to heal. As humans, we can use our words to fix problems, or to create them. To make others’ lives better, or to make them worse.
My dad’s words are, and have always been, very gentle, yet very powerful to me. Sure, he is an extremely goofy, silly, guy…but when he gets serious about something, I listen. Sometimes he will sit me down and give me direct advice, and sometimes he will just listen, slowly sharing his thoughts, helping to guide me in the way I should go. His wisdom seeps into the very depths of my heart, and when I’m in a bind, I find myself reliving conversations we’ve had over and over in my mind, as I search for an answer. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I need my dad, the power of his gentle whisper is always there.
So, it only seemed right that my next “lesson from dad” be on his words…and how incredibly special they are to me. But, as I pondered that thought, something struck me. If I think my earthy father’s words are powerful, important, and worth dwelling on, how much more important are our Heavenly Father’s words?
Turns out…SO important.
Which brings us to…Lessons from my Dad #3
What we have to say is important…but what God has to say is even MORE important.
Among the many things that my dad has taught me, possibly one of the most important is how to rely on God’s word. Both of my parents have always been amazing examples of how to live out His word, how to hide it in your heart, so that it overflows from your very being, showing in everything you do. It’s kind of like leaving a legacy. Our job on earth is to leave a legacy for God. To make HIM look good, and to make Him known. To love others with His love, to share His glory to everyone we come across. My dad does just that.
Let’s rewind a bit. December 2011. We were all feeling a bit fearful when dad went in for his first surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from his colon. Not knowing what was ahead was unsettling, but we tried our best let go and simply trust God. When we asked dad what he needed, he said his bible. Nothing more. Because he knew that he would be in that room for many days, he asked me to create signs of scripture verses for him to display in his room, so that he would be surrounded by the powerful words of God when he awoke from surgery. Plus, he said it’d be a good witnessing tool to the doctors and nurses who would enter his room. He was right.
Watching dad recuperate from surgery was tough. We had never seen him weak, never seen him beaten down. But still we knew God was in control. A few days later, as my brother and I left to go back home, dad prayed over us. Prayed God’s word over us. Settled our nerves. Calmed our fears. Showed us that when nothing else in the world can bring you peace, God’s word can.
Throughout the next few months, my parents did lots of traveling. Then, it was to see doctors, now it’s to see family…but it’s always the same. They don’t just unpack and stay in a hotel…they decorate it. They hang scripture in their hotel room. Everywhere. On the refrigerator, on the doors, on the cabinets, even on the windows. But it doesn’t stop there. When I travel home to Hannibal, I know I’ll be welcomed by God’s word, hanging on every nook and cranny in our house. It covers our home like paint on the walls. You can hardly walk three steps without seeing the power of God’s word displayed. You can’t help but read it. And when you read it…you remember it. I think that’s the point, right?
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God instructs us to walk daily in His word, to talk about it, to share it, to live it. And in my dad’s case, to fall asleep to it. Yes, he literally falls asleep to God’s word. When he lays his head down at night, he plays scripture verses on the cd player. Healing verses that are recited in both Hebrew and English. It’s the last thing he puts in his mind before he closes his eyes at night.
As many of us know, it often takes the most difficult of times to teach us the most valuable of lessons. Yes, my dad has always followed God. But I would say that his walk with God has changed drastically since his battle with cancer began. He’s fighting this disease with the best medicine he has. He’s facing the most frightening of experiences with confidence and strength, because of the power of God’s word within Him. And as I watch him fight with such bravery and courage, I know that kind of strength can only come from one thing. My dad has God’s word hidden so deep inside of him, that nothing but God flows out. Cancer has no power over him anymore. And even though the past few months have been the hardest we’ve ever faced…they quite possibly have been the most powerful, too. Because through this deep pain, we’ve found the deep JOY of relying on His word.
My dad has taught me that no matter what we endure, God’s word can carry us through.
The storms of this life are strong….but our God is STRONGER.