Today is my dad’s birthday! Happy birthday dad – I love you more than words can say! Thank you for loving us, providing for us, modeling for us traits such as loyalty and integrity – thank you for being you!

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” – Ps 103:13

This verse is so comforting! To know that the God of this universe – the one who created the heavens and earth and everything in it – shows compassion to those who fear him just as my dad shows compassion to me! That really is amazing! Now, I realize that not everyone is blessed to have an earthly father to love them as they should. My heart aches for those of you. Not only because you are not receiving the love and care you should and need here on earth but also because this must influence negatively your understanding of the love you have from God, our heavenly Father. When verses talk about God loving us as a father does – I can grasp what that means. I’ve been blessed with a wonderfully loving and caring dad!

What do I think of when I think of my dad? I have so many memories of times with him and my mom. Some of the things that pop into my head when I think about dad are:

  • Playing ping pong or shooting pool downstairs
  • Dad taking us to the office with him some weekends – tapping on the “calculator” machines as he worked
  • Watching airplanes take off and land at the airport with him
  • The family going to drive-in movies. Taking our pajamas, pillows and blankets. The kids would watch the first movie – then sleep in the back of the station wagon as mom and dad watched the second.
  • Sitting beside dad in the special pew as he handled the lights for Sunday church services
  • Throwing the softball in the back yard
  • Playing H-O-R-S-E (sometimes P-I-G) in the driveway – playing basketball
  • Dad cheering me on at my basketball games and softball games
  • Lots of Christmas memories
    • Christmas Eve services downtown
    • Driving around looking at Christmas lights
    • Going to pick out our Christmas tree from the lot – then the whole family decorating it while roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and listening to Christmas carols
    • Going to ride the Pink Pig at Rich’s downtown Atlanta
    • Having to wait for specific time on Christmas morning to wake mom and dad up to go see what Santa brought – then having to wait for dad to get the camera ready!
  • Dad teaching me how to play and then playing golf with me
  • Going to Braves games, golf tournaments and especially going to Athens to UGA football games
  • Dad playing the uke and banjo in the basement while other friends and family members played drums, guitars, spoons, trombones, flute & sometimes clarinet
  • Vacation trips – to the beaches-Panama City, Destin, Daytona, Hilton Head – putt-putt, eating out, golf, swimming, going in the ocean; to the mountains – going through tunnels (him reassuring me as we went through the tunnels!); going to Washington DC; going to Houston – seeing the Astrodome for the first time; Los Angeles – remembering the plane rides, Disney World, taping of some of the shows; and especially my trip last year – my cruise to Alaska! Oh so many memories there!! Seattle – dinner, the excitement of the upcoming trip, the ship – our room – our deck!, the food, the sights – oh the beautiful sights, the glaciers, the excursions–especially the helicopter ride, the whales, eagles and sea otters, the people we met
  • Dad providing for my education and he and mom driving me to Auburn
  • Dad buying my first car my second year at Auburn – my pinto! (safest car I ever had – because no one came near the back of my car!)
  • Dad cheering for Auburn and being a great fan – even though he’s a bulldog at heart!
  • Dad being proud of me when I did good – and being sure to tell me so
  • Dad being disappointed in me when I made wrong or bad choices – and being sure to let me know why – YET – being by my side and helping me as I worked through the consequences of my actions – and loving me continually.
  • Dad working for one company for thirty years – teaching me about loyalty and integrity among other many great traits.
  • Dad and mom going on all their cruises – all over the world.
  • Movies – dad loves to watch movies! Not necessarily at the movie theater – just a good movie on TV.
  • Channel Guide – he loves to look at the paper – none of this viewing on the screen business!
  • Grilling out – hamburgers, chicken, shish kabob, and now low country boil
  • The lake – dad loves sailboats especially – but also loves his pontoon boat with his family. Not much beats a quiet day on the lake for my dad though.
  • Friends – the Georgia Gypsies – more like family.
  • Dad going through his surgery at Mayo in Florida. His humor with the medical staff and us throughout the stay.
  • Dad by mom’s side – taking her to all the appointments and visiting her in the hospital or rehab every day when she was fighting cancer

I know I’m leaving out so many, many things – things I’ll think about as soon as I click publish for this article! But I think you get the idea. There are just so many thoughts and memories that come to my mind when I think of dad today on his birthday and his love for his family. He does whatever he can for us whenever he can. He provides for us. He teaches us important traits – such as integrity, loyalty and love – not just by talking about them – but by modeling and living them out for us. I am so thankful and blessed by my dad!!

The thing is – dad isn’t perfect. None of us are. But, our Father in heaven – he is! I know dad would do and has done whatever he can for me – as he knows best. So, just imagine what my Father in heaven DOES for me because he DOES know best and he CAN! Now, you say – but wait – the verse says God shows compassion to those who fear him. What does that mean?

God shows compassion to those who have awe or reverence towards him. Those who fear God are those who trust and obey God and his commandments even when it may not make sense. In the Faithlife Study Bible, the following are some of the scripture references noted for describing what fearing God means:

  • to delight in and to keep his commandments (Ps 112:1; Deut 5:29; Deut 6:2; Is 50:10);
  • to walk in his ways (Deut 8:6);
  • to love him and to serve him with all your heart and soul (Deut 10:12-13);
  • to obey God in faith (Heb 11:7);
  • it is something to be learned – learning obedience (Deut 4:10; 14:23; 17:19; 21:12-13);
  • to not wrong others (Lev 25:17);
  • to honor the elderly (Lev 19:32);
  • to honor God (Is 8:13);
  • to trust God (Ps 115:11);
  • it is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7; 9:10; Ps 111:10).

So how is this compassion shown? What do we receive from God? Those who fear God receive protection, wisdom, knowledge, deliverance, blessing and a close relationship with God (Ps 25:12–13; 31:19; 34:7,9; 85:9; 111:5, 13; 145:19; 25:14; 33:18).

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you, thank you for my sweet dad. Thank you for blessing us with a dad who shows compassion to us. Not only are we blessed presently in this life because we have such a dad – but we are also blessed because it gives us a glimpse of the compassion you have for us.

To be reminded of what all you are and what you do for us – it helps me to renew afresh my fear and awe of you. May it flame my desire to seek you more – to look for you – to listen for you – to delight in and obey your commandments – to trust you. I may not understand – but I know you know the circumstances and those around me best. I pray my faith and trust will increase so I will say yes and obey, rather than sway back and forth and or even not take a step when you ask something of me. Finally, I pray you give my dad an awesome day today. May he find joy and peace in you – today and always. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.