“Dad. I need a hand. My car won’t start.”
“Where are you, Chuk?”
“Corner of Sibley and Allen.”
“Be right there.”
Immediately I think of my Dad. He is always good but he is at his best in situations like this. He loves a rescue operation. He springs into action eager to help.
My mind goes back to May of 1980. Lois and I are trying to get from Troy, Ohio to Springfield, Missouri. I’m driving my little Plymouth Duster, pulling U-Haul’s largest trailer packed with all our earthly goods. Lois is following in our Bug. We are trying to get back to college. I want to prepare for ministry. In Effingham, Illinois the Duster’s transmission gives out. We’re hundreds of miles from home and hundreds of miles from Springfield. I have about 300.00 in my wallet. Disheartened, I go to a phone and call Dad.
“Check into a Hotel and we will be there,” He says.
We try to sleep burdened with worries and asking God, “Why, Lord. We are trying so hard to serve you. Why?”
It what seems a short time and a loud knock at the door wakes us from sleep. We open the door. Dad is standing there with my little brothers Kevin and Nathan. Kevin is eleven. Nathan is eight. They are smiling. Dad has a log-chain draped over his shoulder like a scarf and he says; “Well. what are you waiting for? Let’s get going.” He hauls our car and trailer on a log chain all the way back the way we came stopping for laughter, prayer and breakfast. Soon were home again in Ohio where we will start over in the Village of Cedarville.
It’s always been that way. That’s the kind of Dad I have. That’s the kind of Dad I want to be.
I grab my coat and keys and try to get to Chuk as quickly as I can. I could hear the discouragement in Chuk’s voice. I need to show up quick and bring the sunshine with me. I drive along using my limited mechanical knowledge to troubleshoot what might be wrong with Chuk’s car.
In a few minutes I take him to work and I get some quiet time in my warm Jeep thinking and waiting for the wrecker to arrive. Within an hour the tow-truck shows. I greet the driver. He is a no-nonsense guy who makes short work of hooking Chuk’s car. I say, “This car belong to my son. I wanted to help him. My Dad was always there to help me.”
He stops and looks at me. “Mine too.”
“Is he still living?” I ask.
“No, and I miss him every day.”
My Dad lives just an hour and a half away. He’s there for me whenever I need him. It’s a powerful thing to know that when life is giving you trouble you have someone in your life who is not just burdened with a sense of obligation, but joyful and eager to show up for you and do what needs to be done. I have a Dad like that. I want to be a Dad like that. When my kids are in trouble I want to show up quick with a log-chain and some sunshine.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to pray thinking of God as a Father eager to help his children. Millions upon millions of Christians begin their daily prayers with “Father in Heaven.” Trouble or no, that’s the way to start any day well.
January 20, 2014