For little boys there is no greater hero than his Dad. And even as we age and mature in life there is usually no one we want to be proud of us more than our Fathers. I had the great privilege to grow up with an amazingly connected Father. He took me hunting, fishing, and he was at my ball games to cheer me on. Here’s a glimpse into my Dad’s personality. When I was about 8 or 9 and playing for Southland Christian Church’s youth league, led by an amazing man named Jack Williams…we were playing at another Church’s gym. And even to my immature 8 year old eyes the referee was completely biased. By somewhat a miracle we won the game with a last second shot…he tried to wave off, but the other referee wouldn’t agree…I even remember hearing him say, “I can’t cheat them like that!!!!” My Dad was taking pictures…he loved photography…and after the game he came up to the unscrupulous referee and said, “Can I take your picture?” And the Referee said, “Why sure.” and he struck a pose…after taking the picture my Dad said while walking away, “Thanks, I want to be able to show my grandchildren what a “Jack—” looks like!”
So, do you have a picture of my father…6’1 135 pound soaking wet, served in the 101st airborne and then broke his ankle in a parachute jump and then put him into the 63rd infantry. He had a leg blown off in the black forest of Germany during the battle of the bulge. Came home and met my Mom in an amputee hospital in Atlanta Ga. By the way…my Mom’s parents had sent her to Atlanta to go to an all girls school called Agnes Scott University because they didn’t like the boy she was dating…they liked my Dad even less….God is hilarious in His providence.
My Dad was 36 when I was born…the youngest of three. My brother ten years older than me and my sister 7. My Mom had two miscarriages before I was born, so they really wanted a third child…and there were times they really wanted to send me back. Dad was strong…he disciplined, but he also was generous and helpful…stubborn, yep…but the classic picture of someone from Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation.”
I could share so much but I want to tell you about the day I saw my Father’s heart. It was at a father and son little league picnic…and it was during a father and son game. My Dad was a really good athlete, all-state tennis player in South Carolina, but now limited by an artificial leg. I really wanted to strike him out when he came up to bat…the first pitch he ripped into left field…he took off kind of running, hopping as he had to do with the artificial leg…and 2/3rd’s of the way to first base the strap on his artificial leg broke. He went face down in the dirt, just about the time the left fielder picked up the ball…and then I saw my Dad’s heart….because he crawled the rest of the way to first. It was something internal, not something he planned…but I wanted to be more like my Dad on that day than maybe any other day ever…if you go down, try to get up…if you can’t get up….crawl!!!!!
Folks, this world will knock you down…it will take your greatest hits at times and turn them into close plays at first. Don’t quit…don’t give up…get up and if you can’t get up….crawl. I think as I’ve given my life to Christ I appreciate this day even more, because I see a Savior, beaten…thorn crowned, in the dirt…unable to carry His own cross, but still climbing…still crawling His way up Calvary…not to reach first, but to reach a cross…to die for me. By the way…HE DIDN’T STAY DOWN EITHER!!!!!!!