All week this week, when I’ve listened to a Christian radio station, the DJ’s have been asking people to call in and give the best advice their fathers gave them. Every time I heard the question, I thought about all of the counsel my father has given me over the years. But, one thing in particular stood out time and time again.
When my dad retired from the Army, he took a position at a boys’ military boarding school with students who ranged in age from middle school through high school. He was there for about ten years, and worked personally with hundreds of boys over that time. One thing that the boys with whom he worked learned very quickly was that my dad is a very wise man. He has a gift that assesses situations and can see things from different angles and he’s able to apply strength and wisdom in his handling of circumstances. He’s fair, he’s accurate, and he’s really smart. I admire him for his wisdom and have often relied on it and valued it. My brothers and sister, I’m certain, would very likely concur.
When I was 21, several years before he got out of the Army, he took a duty station in Korea. This was the third time in his career that he spent a year in Korea. Where he was stationed, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so he started doing some in-depth Bible studies.
About three or four months into this tour, he sent me a letter. In it, he said, “I’m 45-years-old, and I’m just now discovering studying my Bible. I’m afraid that I’ve wasted so many years I could have spent learning, and now there’s no way I can ever live long enough to learn everything I want to learn.”
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice. ~Psalms 37:30
I’m sure that he hoped I would heed his wisdom and start really digging into God’s word. I didn’t on any real scale at that time. I’ve never not gone to church, so that didn’t change, But, I started listening to sermons on the radio. A couple of them were in-depth Bible studies. And honestly, that’s about the best I did. Daily sermons and weekly church constituted my “Bible study” at the time.
When I was about 35, I really started to get hungry for the Word of God.
I hate that I didn’t really hear what my dad was saying at the time. Because, now I feel like he did. I’m 39-years-old, and I don’t feel like I’ll ever live long enough to actually really learn all I want to learn from the Bible. Every time I study it, something new is revealed to me. And I just want to learn more and more and more and I feel like I’ve wasted my entire adult life not opening this wonderful gift from God in His Word.
When discussing this with my dad last night, he reminded me that Moses had to spend 40 years tending sheep before he was ready to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness. It’s likely God has been preparing our hearts for what we’re to learn even while we weren’t seeking to learn it. I’m sure that’s true. I’m happy now that I’m there, and I hope to be able to teach my children while they’re young how much God will give them if they just study and learn and ask for it. They have been blessed with a father who has been given the gifts of wisdom and discernment just like I was. Hopefully, they’ll heed his advice a little bit younger than I listened to my dad.
As I’ve typed this, I’ve thought about what an amazing man my dad is – he is a righteous man of God and I love him. I could probably fill a blog with his wisdom and insights over the years, and I appreciate the fact that he shares his thoughts with me. I’m sure that if I put feelers out there to all of the soldiers and students whose lives he touched over the last forty-some-odd years, I could fill another blog. I am proud that he’s my dad.
What is the best advice that your father ever gave you?
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i have always been a strong willed woman and after long dedication of prayer on my daddy’s part, i began reliving my christian walk….I have struggled with the godly position i am to have in my marriage and the leadership my husband is to have and my dad’s greatest words have been…”how do expect your husband to step up and take leadership, if don’t step down and allow him the freedom to have it!” i need to remind myself of these words of wisdom often….but i am getting better!!