Archive for April, 2012


April 30, 2012 1 comment

My youngest daughter is graduating from college this month. And yes, I am wondering where the time has gone. It really does seem like yesterday that this person who will receive her Bachelor’s degree on May 11, is the same little girl who stood defiantly in front of the television demanding we put on Old Yeller for the GA zillionth time. Little did I know how much of a Joy and surprise that little thing would turn out to be.

Her mother and I named her Rebekah Grace, after Isaac’s wife in the Bible, and the great favor of God which came to us completely by surprise through the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Rebekah has lived up to her middle name Grace in many ways. She has been a constant surprise to her family all her life. If you would indulge a proud Papa, let me a share a highlight.

After I became a single father, my relationship with my daughters consisted of dinners once a week, phone calls, and weekend visits at my small apartment. When Bekah was about six I picked them up for one of our weekend visits. On our way back to Redlands where I was living at the time, we passed some homeless people hanging out by a freeway on-ramp. I was barely aware of them when Bekah asked from her place in the back seat, “Who is that person and why are they so sad?” I did my best to explain the plight of homelessness and why it exists. I was rather pleased with my answer and thought that I had demonstrated for my daughter the proper level of compassion one should have for the less fortunate. Later that night Bekah showed me what true compassion for the homeless looked like.

Thinking that the girls were sound asleep on the futons in the small living room of my apartment, I was just about ready to turn out the light myself, when Rebekah appeared by my bed, her eyes red with tears. I was ready for the typical explanation for the cause of a six year olds tear in the middle of the night, a nightmare, she missed her Mom, or she wasn’t feeling well. I wasn’t ready for the real cause of Bekah’s tears. As I held her in my arms she explained to me through sobs that she couldn’t stop thinking about the homeless man she saw. She was so sad because he didn’t have a nice warm place to sleep like she and her sisters had with me. Her heart was breaking for him, and this was a hurt as her father I couldn’t take away, the best I could do was share it with her. We prayed for the homeless right then and there.

God gave me a gift through Bekah that night. He showed me a glimpse of His own heart through Bekah’s tears. I also got to see my youngest daughter, who was often over looked in the context of the family dynamic, in a brand new light. Later that weekend, if not the next morning, I had the privilege of watching her pray the prayer that would invite Jesus to live in her heart as her Lord and Savior.

From that day Rebekah and God began a beautiful dance together that is continuing even as she graduates. At 21 years of age I’ve never seen anyone so deeply in love with Jesus, as my daughter is. Her compassion for the hurting is overwhelming. Right now at this writing she is praying about what sort of ministry God is calling her to. The mission field is not out of the question. Whatever God calls her too, she will no doubt live up to her middle name, and share God’s Grace with any all and she meets.

Thank you for indulging a proud Papa.

Blessings, Pastor Joel

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