On a late-October night in western Ohio, twenty-five years ago, a young couple checked into a hospital in the little village of Coldwater, Ohio. The young woman labored through the jaws of death into life. At about quarter of ten in the morning, I became a father. The baby was a boy, a fine, first-born son.
We named him Kyle Dale. His first name means integrity, his middle name was taken from a man who had died a year before in October, my grandfather, who had modeled a lifetime of integrity.
There is no way to describe the joy that flooded into my soul in those days. I would turn twenty-three a few days later. That night I left my young, happy wife with a tiny child nestled at her breast and went home euphoric with joy that has not dimmed in a quarter of a century.
The next day was a Saturday. That afternoon Kyle and I watched our first college football game together. Ohio State beat Purdue 45-33 and all was right with the world. I let him nurse on commercials and at the half.
My most vivid memory was that morning, when I came into the hospital and bounded up the stairs to see my wife and our baby. I peered through the nursery window at my son. He was such a tiny human being, just a little under eight pounds. I thought my heart would burst with happiness. I stood, looking at him through the window. Then and there I determined that we would be as close as any father and son could ever be.
Plans formed in my heart of things we would do together. I would teach him to ride a bike, catch a baseball, throw a spiral, and mow the lawn. We would camp and hike and fish together. We would raise a dog, his very own dog, a dog that would follow him wherever he went. We would seek the Lord together and I would teach him to love Jesus and savor his creation. Maybe he would be a pastor, too. That would make four generations of pastors in our family. My mind raced with plans that morning and it seemed that I had years and years to fulfill them together.
Twenty-five of those years are passed already in a whirl I can’t believe. He no longer lives under our roof– a little boy with a shock of bangs jutting from the front of his ball cap set back on his head. He no longer sleeps in the next room with a little stuffed dog named “Scruffy.” He has made his way out into the world. He has a wife of his own and they will have their own child by spring.
I have often thought of that morning looking through the nursery window and the plans, even vows, that formed deep in my soul to do things with my son. If a flawed, sinful, selfish, earthly father has plans in his heart for his child, how much more must our perfect heavenly father long for fellowship with each of his children? What must his plans for each of us be? Think of it. He has good plans for you beating in his father-heart.
That is what Jesus said; “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Mat 7:11 ESV)
October 30, 2006