“My Father and My Forefathers”

I’ve been reflecting on the legacy left to our family by my father since his ‘promotion’ to heaven on May 2, 2004.  I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since we left Thornloe and drove through snow (yes–on May 2nd), to arrive at Norfolk Hospital in Simcoe.  My siblings and others had spent most of the day with Dad as they ‘sang’ and ‘prayed’ him through his journey Home.  When we arrived, he was already enjoying the Lord’s presence and we were left to adjust to the change that death brings.

The next night (May 3rd, 2004) I returned to a Toronto Baptist Seminary board meeting and soon learned of another transition as Rev. Rudy Wiebe, then Registrar, had submitted his resignation as he transitioned into missionary service with his beloved wife Marlene.  The following week was full with two funerals (as we celebrated dad’s life in Southern and Northern Ontario) and then began the transition of accepting the job offer as Registrar where I have served the past 11 years.   We’ve proven that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)  May I urge you to pray for TBS during this current transition.

In I Peter 1:17-21, Peter speaks of our Father and our forefathers.

Christians know God as their Father.   Those who have ‘trusted’ the Son of God – Jesus Christ – for salvation, are brought into the family of God.  We trust the Son “in whom the Father is well pleased” (Matthew 3, 17) and He introduces us to His Father who adopts us into His family.  What an amazing privilege to be a child of God.

We call on “a Father who judges each man’s work impartially….”  This coming weekend is Mother’s Day in Canada and in June we’ll mark ‘Father’s Day.’ Not all fathers are impartial, in fact partiality in parenting proved disastrous in many families in Scripture (Consider Isaac & Rebekah with Jacob & Esau, their twin sons.)  God, as our Father, is  impartial in His judgment.  We will face Him as our judge–the question is what will be our defense?

Peter urges a wise ‘life-strategy’ as Christ-followers live as ‘strangers’ in the world – not really fitting in well to a system that denies the reality of God’s existence.  We are to live in ‘reverent fear’ – evidencing the impact that the knowledge of God has had on every part of our beings.

He reminds us that a ‘price’ has been paid for our ‘rescue.’  We could not and did not rescue ourselves, but God rescued us, not with perishable precious metals, but with the imperishable blood of Christ.  Peter’s ‘readers’ of this first letter were redeemed from an ’empty way of life’ handed down to them by their ‘forefathers.’

Some ‘forefathers’ hand down RELIGION but not a RELATIONSHIP with God.  There are traditions at birth, death, marriage and other ‘special’ occasions in some families but the day-to-day living of life is done without any reference to God.  

  My testimony of the impact of my ‘forefathers’ and particularly my ‘father’ is not that of an empty way of life.  Dad’s life wasn’t empty–it was full of a desire to live for God,  to make his life count and ‘redeem’ the time allotted to him.  Hard work was not optional and ministry was part of every day living.  Did Dad ever claim ‘over-time?’ I highly doubt it.  His Sunday sermons were often fresh, having burnt the midnight oil after a full week of farming, book-keeping, parenting, counseling and living.  I thank God for the legacy he often challenged us with and exemplified in Thornloe and other parts of North-eastern Ontario and in Port Rowan and area where his final journey on earth drew to a close.  

So today I thank God my Father, for my father whose counsel often ring in my ears and heart – “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favour rather than silver or gold.”  I thank God for the good name Dad had and for his urging to trust in the NAME  that is above every name – the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

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