His voice, I’ll never forget it.
Raspy. Perhaps it was a vocal strain – I feel it in my own voice. Talking takes energy for me and I’m guessing it did for him too. I see him take a deep breath before he talks.
I hear him as he plunges the tin grain scoop into the metal cart, heavy with grain as he rolled it down the isle between two rows of black and white furry faces, instructing me on the number of scoops to give each cow.
I walk beside him; he’s carrying a metal pail filled with snow-white ground limestone, he demonstrates scooping lime by handfuls and broadcasting it over the concrete floors where we spent morning and evenings. Like gravel, it crunched under our shoes as we carried the milking machines from one cow to the next.
Rowing the duck boat through thick weeds with him, his voice comes from behind me, gently instructing me on where and how to place the paddle in the water. How to safely store the gun until we arrived at our destination. Then how to aim and shoot if I saw a duck fly overhead. I don’t recall ever actually hitting a duck, but his voice carried in it an anticipation I was very familiar with, seeing his ‘student’ succeed meant as much to him as getting his own trophy. He let me take the shot he might have taken.
Loving fathers sacrifice for their children.
Going out with him to fix a fence the cows had pushed through, “Hand me another staple Bean.” I dug out another one from the five gallon bucket sitting at my feet, scrounging through random hardware that farmers save, but have no time to sort. He pulled the barbed wire tight and hammered in the staple he’d just taken from my hand.
“Now the Lord said to Abraham, “Go . . .” . . . so Abraham went.” Genesis 12:1-4
I doubt God just showed up out of the blue that day. I’m guessing there was an ongoing relationship already in place to a certain extent. If a random stranger said, “Come with me, we are going to fix that fence.” I might be inclined to tell him to go fix his own fence.
“Teach us to pray Jesus.”
“Start like this: “Our Father who art in Heaven . . . “ Matthew 6:9
I began to hear my Heavenly Father’s voice as a child. [Do you recall it?]
I heard Him when my mom read Bible stories to me. “I Am The Author of Wisdom.”
I heard Him when I was faced with decisions of integrity. [I didn’t say I always listened…]
I heard Him when I struggled with relationships. “I’m with you.”
When I sang Christmas Carols and Hymns. “Good Christian Friends Rejoice . . .”
When I smelled my Dad’s aftershave when he readied for church. Old Spice
When I saw my parents laugh together. Or when they fought and I cried and she noticed.
When Mom turned chokecherries into jelly.
When I worked with my parents. “Honor your father and mother.”
When people were mean to someone I loved. “Love one another, love comes from God.”
When my mom baked a dozen loaves of bread and let us have some fresh from the oven with large doses of butter. “I am the Bread of Life” [okay, I didn’t hear Him say that, but now I know how yummy He is…!]
I heard His Spirit whisper to mine. I heard His words. I sensed His nearness. I knew I had a Father in Heaven. [Do you remember knowing?]
“See her there? She needs a friend.” He instructs me to mentor. His voice barely discerned, it’s more like a nudge than a voice.
“Send her a text, she is struggling.” He guides me to encourage someone.
“Start a Bible study outside of your church. Go out into the community.” Heather comes to mind. I intend to ask her. A year or more later, I ask and we gather women in a restaurant for STUCK. He leads me in the plan He has for me. Ephesians 2:10
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4
It’s like I said before, I learn a lot about my Heavenly Father through considering my relationship with my dad.
And I’m learning that we often make our relationship with God more complicated that it is.
God is our Father who walks with us and talks with us. He assures, comforts, guides, provides, leads, teaches, holds, and lavishes us with love and good gifts.
The more I know God as my Father, the more readily I trust Him, and the more I enjoy the journey.