Saturday, March 22, 2014
What Does It Mean To Follow Jesus?
I've been reading my dad's journals.
For those of you new to my blog, dad died last August. Dad had made his home with us the last eleven years of his life. Dad and I were more than father and daughter, we were best friends.
Dad began writing in what he called his "daily log", on November 12, 1973. Dad was fifty and I was nine.
Each entry is a paragraph long; however, they are filled with information on the stresses of his job, he and mother's relationship, my siblings, my commitment to Christ and baptism, President Nixon's resignation, gas shortages of the early 70s, carpool problems, a piano purchase, teaching a new coed Sunday school class, duties at church, should he stay a deacon or go on the inactive list, family vacations, struggles to provide for the family, worrying about a certain pain in his chest, a Mohammad Ali fight, his mother's death, constantly busy and yet not knowing how to say no, and a question he often pondered: "is he where he should be in his walk with Jesus."
So far I've read from late 1973 through August 1975. I have a long way to go. There will be several journals he kept while mother was sick with Alzheimer's. I'm not sure how many there are, nor the dates of them.
I wrote the last entry a few days after his death.
How does my dad's journals or daily logs, tie in to: "What Does It Mean To Follow Jesus?" It has everything to do with it. When dad had diphtheria as a child, Jesus was with him. During the Great Depression when dad didn't have a coat to wear, Jesus was with him. When dad stormed the beaches at Normandy, Jesus was with him. When dad's first wife died and he was left with a young daughter, Jesus was with him. When dad married a woman with three children, they had a child of their own, plus a new mortgage, Jesus was with dad. When my siblings and myself broke dad's heart from selfish and destructible choices, Jesus was with dad. When mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was sick for eighteen years, Jesus was with dad. When dad gave up his independence and could no longer live alone, Jesus was with dad. Throughout all of dad's lengthy health history, Jesus was with dad. And when the moment, the exact moment, when it was time for daddy to go to his eternal home, Jesus was with dad.
In every moment of our lives Jesus is with us. We think about the significant moments in life, but even in the quiet unobtrusive moments, Jesus is with us. It seems simple, but so many don't get it. They want to live life independent of a God who allows bad things to happen to good people. I've read this is the main cause of people not believing in God, they do not understand why a loving God allows people to suffer. Many responses have been given in regards to this weighty question. Famous sermons have been delivered. Numerous books have stirred the minds and hearts of readers.
Life is hard. It is difficult and confusing. Questions are a plenty, but answers elude us.
But, I am only flesh and bone, as strong as I am there have been events to happen in life which have left me with the stark lesson-God is what I need and must have. It is to God and Jesus which I turn to, not myself.
What Does It Mean To Follow Jesus? It means to let go. Take our rigid hands off our temporary life, and give it to God.
On an interesting side-note, dad was fifty when he began writing a daily log or journal, I am fifty now. I don't believe in happenstance or luck.