My dad was born on this day in 1916. I remember thinking on the night of May 2nd, 2004 when he entered the Lord’s presence, “I now have 2 fathers in heaven….”
I am a son of God through faith in Jesus Christ. God, in His mercy, led me many years ago to trust in Jesus Christ. I don’t remember every last detail but basically I had been raised by parents who were Christ followers. We read God’s word and were taught God’s standards. Disobedience had consequences and we learned early that we had not ‘evolved’ but were designed by God. (Ask me some time about Grandma Veitch’s poem about evolution!) John 1:11-12 states of Jesus Christ – “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
For many years Faith Mission workers came to Northern Ontario and in those years were permitted to give Bible classes in many of the public schools. In the evenings they often held meetings in the community, primarily evangelistic, as they seized the opportunities God was providing for them. At one of those evening meetings, in a little community named Tomstown, I saw myself very clearly as a sinner and was shown how Jesus Christ had died for my sins. I left home that night in unbelief, I returned in faith. I left home an enemy of God and came home as part of God’s family. That’s how I can rightfully claim to have a relationship with GOD as my heavenly Father–through faith in HIS Son, Jesus, who is called the Christ.
I am also the youngest son of Chester Hutchings Edwards and Margaret Jean Veitch. Their meeting at a summer Gospel Hall conference, their ‘letter-writing’ courtship (Dad wrote one letter over 40 pages in length) led to their joining together in holy matrimony on June 17, 1942. I’ve written about that occasion elsewhere in this blog, and am still amazed at God’s plan. My mom, based on some serious personal reflection had decided marriage was not for her. As a young child she was even taken for a block of time to the United States to live with Uncle Theodore (Ted) Purnis, but that’s another story altogether.
In the genealogies of Jesus there are many details. In Matthew’s account, each man listed (primarily Jewish genealogy is traced through males), is described as the FATHER of….. as Matthew traces the family tree from Abraham to Christ. In Luke’s account, Luke begins with Jesus (at the age of 30) and traces back the family tree on Mary’s side to Adam, the SON of God. How did each son demonstrate his likeness to his father? Trace the family traits evident in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or David, Solomon and Rehoboam and you will see the generational impact.
What did I learn from my father in the years God entrusted me to share with him?
#1 Be faithful in small things. Dad loved bookkeeping. Long before computers were an essential part of so many lives, Dad managed a multitude of accounts. His personal financial ledgers (some of which I still have) track every penny in and out.
#2 Be willing to work hard. Dad never feared hard work. Farming and its multitude of tasks…..dad did. Lumberjacking and ultimately managing a camp including prisoners of war…..dad did. Beginning to study and prepare for Sunday ministry long after a FULL work week….dad did. I know he over did it, and paid with physical consequences, but he erred on the side of burnout not laziness.
#3 Be a man of your word. How often did we hear the proverb – “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” Dad had and still has a good name and as I entered pastoral ministry in Thornloe from 1991 – 2004, I reaped a harvest of integrity that he and other faithful Christ-followers had sought to maintain (albeit not perfectly) over many years.
#4 Be a man of conviction. Dad had changed some of his theological views through further study. He knew God’s word and his bibles show all kinds of wear and tear from use over many years. Was he wrong in some of his convictions? Sure, as we all are, but what he believed, he believed and taught with all his heart.
#5 Be a man of God. He had a multitude of relationships as husband, father, neighbour, clerk-treasurer, pastor, Gideon, uncle, grandfather, etc but his primary relationship was with his Father. Dad’s father had served in World War I and suffered from the consequences of that involvement. My dad’s spiritual legacy, as I can best trace it, was through his mom and through a neighbour (Mr. Foster) who opened his house for Gospel meetings. I know my older siblings can fill in the details but my paternal grandfather did not evidence as much interest in the things of Christ as Grandma. Dad came to faith through those meetings in Mr. Foster’s house and through many years, following spiritual disciplines (as best as he knew how), he grew in grace in and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
My dad was a sinner, no doubt about it, but I thank GOD that he also became a saint, a son of a PERFECT FATHER, the one who gave HIS ONE and ONLY SON that whoever believes in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life! Thanks, FATHER, for my father! Thank YOU for YOUR plan which allowed be to be his son and YOURS. YOU have been so gracious to me!