The fight was on.
The neighborhood tough shoved my brother in his chest. An exchange of words escalated into a challenge to settle the disagreement with fists. Friends who flanked the two foes now encircled them. The boys wrestled each other to the ground. Arms flailed and knuckles connected, each seeking the advantage.
Dad, hearing commotion on his front lawn, walked to the door.
“Daddy, aren’t you going to do something?” I whined, irritated by the noise and break in my concentration on a complicated math assignment.
“Not yet.” He stood, quietly watching the two rivals. With his hand rested on
the doorknob, he leaned forward slightly. I forgot about my math problem and
climbed up on the couch to grab a better view from the living room window.
One of the sideline toughs moved toward the fray to help his friend when my brother gained the upper hand. Faster than a thoroughbred out of the starting gate, my father flew
out the door and onto the front porch. The young man caught Dad’s presence out the corner of his eye. He hesitated. My father pointed his finger, “It’ll be a fair fight. One on one.” The young man retreated.
My brother won the advantage, and his opponent withdrew with bruises and broken glasses. He hobbled down the sidewalk, nursing his wounds.
As we finished dinner that evening, the doorbell rang. My father answered it to find the defeated young man standing on our front steps with his dad. His dad confronted my father about the so-called “unfair, unprovoked beating” and damages caused to his son.
The beginning of a smile crept into the corners of my father’s mouth while his eyes burned fiercely at the young man who stood slumped beside his own father. Dad firmly spoke the truth, “Your son was the one who came on our property, instigated the argument, and threw the first punch.”
The defeated young man cowered under his father’s glare, “Is this true?” In a barely audible voice, the boy confessed, “Yes.”
His dad turned to my father. “I’m sorry to bother you.” Then to his son, “We’ll talk again at home.” The two men left.
This memory of my father came to mind today as we celebrate Father’s Day. My dad died thirteen years ago, leaving a testament of our Father’s love for His children. As my dad guarded over his child, prevented an unfair fight, and delivered his son from another’s taunts and lies, so does God, our Father, do the same. Even in times of trouble I may
cause myself, He’s there. Loving me. Watching over me. Delivering me. And so, I rest assured that even out of seeming defeats in life will come victory under my Father’s giving, protective Spirit. Because of His great love for me, I can leave the results of my life in His hands and pray with confidence, “Our Father…”
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1, NIV)